Man charged in murder
Nepali authorities on Monday charged notorious criminal Charles Sobhraj, known as the "Serpent" and the "Bikini Killer," with the 1975 murder of an American backpacker in Kathmandu. Police are also questioning Sobhraj, a master of disguise and escape, over the murder of a Canadian tourist in the Nepali capital in the same year. The French national, whose exploits across Asia spawned two books and a movie, was arrested last month while gambling in a posh hotel casino in the heart of Kathmandu. He denies any involvement in either death and says he has never been to Nepal before. Sobhraj, 59, who has been accused by police in several Asian countries of killing more than 20 Western backpackers, has already spent 20 years in jail in India for a string of crimes, including murder and robbery.
Death in custody sparks riot
Hundreds of furious people smashed windows of police cars, burned vehicles and hurled stones in India's capital yesterday after reports that a young man had died from torture in a police station after a crackdown on gamblers. The youth was detained by police for alleged involvement in gambling, and was seriously injured after being beaten up at the police station, Press Trust of India news agency reported. He died Monday night in a private hospital, the agency reported.
Bombing suspects charged
Prosecutors yesterday filed charges against four of the last five suspects jailed after the terrorist attacks on Bali island -- the worst terror attack since Sept. 11, 2001. The four -- Sarjiyo, Suranto Abdul Goni, Ahmad Roichan, and Hafidin -- are accused of violating anti-terror laws, said I Nengah Sarwa, chief of the Denpasar District Court. Sarijiyo and Suranto could face a maximum sentence of death for helping plan the attack on Oct. 12 last year which killed 202 people and assembling the explosives used to blow up two packed nightclubs. Roichan and Hafidin face up to 20 years in jail for allegedly helping move funds used in the attack and finding accommodation for the bombers.
Baby smugglers go on trial
A baby-smuggling trial opened on Monday in Guangxi province with more than 50 people charged with selling more than 100 infant girls for as little as US$7 each. Doctors and midwives from several hospitals in Yuling City were among the defendants, accused of setting up a network to sell the babies to couples in several of China's poorest provinces. Local media reported that 118 babies had been sold by the 11 medical staff to local smugglers for 50 to 200 yuan (US$7 to US$34) since 2001. The infants were then resold to intermediaries, who sold them to couples for up to 3,000 yuan (US$360). A doctor told police the sales were made with the consent of the parents.
Oldest man dies
Cambodia's oldest man has died at the age of 120 from a common cold before he could live out his final dream of visiting the legendary Angkor Wat monument, police said Monday. Former martial arts expert and hunter Sek Yi enjoyed over 100 years of married life with two wives who produced 12 children who had 70 offspring and 420 great-grand children, according to members of his family. "It is true, Sek Yi died on Sunday because he was very old and sick," said Em Sary, police chief of the remote Ponhea Krek district, 200km east of Phnom Penh.