‘Poison dart’ plot foiled
Two men were questioned yesterday by police in Hong Kong in connection with a plot to rig big money races by shooting poison darts at horses. The men were arrested on Thursday after being seen acting suspiciously by security guards. A police source quoted by radio station RTHK said the men were questioned over a suspected plot to affect the outcome of races by shooting poison darts at horses from remote-controlled devices hidden in the grass next to the track. In March 2007, a firing contraption attached to a series of tubes dug into the ground was found near the starting line of the racecourse. Police officials said at the time that they believed the discovery foiled a plot to fire poison darts from the tubes at the horses. The suspects arrested on Thursday were carrying torches and gloves.
Azharuddin enters politics
Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who was forced to quit the game after a match-fixing scandal, entered the country’s turbulent political scene on Thursday. Azharuddin, 46, was paraded for the media at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi after joining the ruling party ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections. But Congress spokesman Veerappa Moily refused to confirm if Azharuddin would contest polls expected in April and May. “I’ve known him for 25 years and he expressed his desire to join the Congress,” Moily said. “I took up this matter with the Congress president [Sonia Gandhi], who has agreed to admit him into the party. He is joining the party unconditionally. Whether he will contest for the Lok Sabha [lower house] elections will be discussed later.” Azharuddin said he was delighted to sign up with Congress but sidestepped questions on standing for elections. “The Congress has done so much for the country since the freedom movement. I wanted to give something back to the nation and the best way was to serve the people,” Azharuddin said. He was banned from cricket for life in 2000 after he was named in a match-fixing probe.
D’Arcy says sorry
Nick D’Arcy will have to wait a few more weeks to find out whether he’ll spend any time in jail for assaulting former Commonwealth Games medalist Simon Cowley in a barroom fight last March. D’Arcy was subsequently dumped from Australia’s Olympic team for Beijing after being charged in the attack that left Cowley with fractures to his jaw, eye socket, cheekbone and nose. The 21-year-old D’Arcy pleaded guilty last November to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm on Cowley. Magistrate John Favretto said yesterday that he would hear sentencing submissions next week and will hand down his decision at a later date. D’Arcy apologized to Cowley in court yesterday. “I am extremely sorry, if there was anything I could do to take it back I would,” he said.
Lewis denies drug charge
Former England star Chris Lewis denied trying to smuggle cocaine into Britain as he appeared in court on Thursday. The 41-year-old is accused of trying to sneak cocaine with an estimated street value of £200,000 (US$290,000). Lewis and co-defendant Chad Kirnon were both remanded in custody at Croydon Crown Court after entering not guilty pleas. Lewis was arrested last year after border control officers at London Gatwick Airport found 4kg of the illegal drug in liquid form in fruit tins in baggage that had arrived on a flight from St Lucia.