■ Hong KongCroc catcher ready to hunt
Australian hunter John Lever, who catches croco-diles with his bare hands, demanded chicken heads, a bamboo pole and a boat yesterday to trap a tricky crocodile that has evaded Hong Kong officials for two weeks. The chicken heads are a lure and Lever intends to catch the crocodile with his hands, a government spokeswoman said. Lever runs a crocodile farm in Queensland and boasts of having caught more than 90 crocodiles in the wild. This particular crocodile has been hanging out in a waterway near a small Hong Kong rural village.
Government denies lying
The government yesterday denied lying to the public over whether 14 Turkish boat people had claimed asylum after they landed on a remote island. An Austra-lian warship towed the Turkish Kurds' boat into international waters and told its crew to head back to Indonesia last week, as Canberra insisted the group had not asked for asylum. However the government backed down Thursday after issuing a letter from its people-smuggling task force which showed the men had pleaded with officials to treat them as asylum seek-ers, even pointing to the word "refugee" in a dic-tionary. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said there had been a simple mistake and the record was corrected as soon as possi-ble. The Turks are now in a Jakarta immigration deten-tion center and have asked for asylum in Indonesia.
Navy sinks Thai fishing boat
An Indonesian navy frigate sank a Thai fishing boat yesterday that it alleged was illegally catching fish in the Java Sea, officers said. The vessel was seized earlier this week and 18 Thais were arrested, said navy Captain Kadir. The frigate towed the boat into the Java sea and fired on it yesterday, he said. ``The sinking of the ship was a warning for those stealing fish and the rich material resources in Indonesian waters,'' said Rear Admiral Slamet Sugianto, Indonesia's eastern fleet commander. During the past month, Indonesia has either sunk or seized 16 foreign vessels it alleged were fishing illegally in its waters, Kadir said.
Rebels blamed for murders
Suspected Muslim separatist rebels allegedly butchered a 40-year-old woman and her seven children in the south-ern Philippines, the military said yesterday. Villagers found Evangeline Balios and her children, aged from one to 13, hacked to death Thurs-day morning in Poblacion village in Zamboanga del Norte province, officials said.
Toilet tips requested
Pop the lid on the cleanser, get out the scrub brush and be sure to leave the seat down -- it's time to get ready for World Toilet Day tomor-row. The Singapore-based World Toilet Organization has begun collecting tips to improve bathroom etiquette to mark the day, held annually on Nov. 16. The suggestions will be used to create the agenda for next year's World Toilet Summit in Beijing, the group said in a statement yesterday. Sug-gestions can be sent to the group's Web site (firstname.lastname@example.org).
■ GermanyRobbers glue driver to car
Two robbers forced a taxi driver at gunpoint to glue his hands to the steering wheel and fled with his wallet, police said on Thursday. The thieves had taken a ride from Dresden to a suburb around midnight on Wednesday when one drew a pistol and ordered the driver to spread Super Glue over the wheel and grip it. They made off with several hundred euros, police said. The 31-year-old driver activated a radio alarm lever with his leg, and medics who responded to the call freed his hands with a chemical fluid, the Dresdner Morgenpost newspaper reported. Police provided no further details.