Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take


■ Japan

Couple to be reunited

A Japanese woman abducted to North Korea decades ago headed for Indonesia yesterday to be reunited with the former US soldier she married and left behind when she returned to Japan two years ago. Hitomi Soga, 45, wants to persuade her husband, Charles Robert Jenkins -- who Washington says deserted 40 years ago -- and the couple's two North Korean-born daughters, aged 21 and 18, to come and live with her in Japan. Jenkins fears he would be handed over to the US military for court martial if he did. Soga, who was spirited away from her homeland in 1978 by North Korean agents, returned in October 2002 with four other Japanese abductees. All five had to leave their families behind but Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi won the release of the others' five children in May at a summit in Pyongyang.

■ China

Loansharks want kidney

Talk about extracting a pound of flesh. Alleged loansharks tried to force a Shanghai man to sell one of his kidneys to pay back a 30,000 yuan (US$3,600) debt, the Shanghai Daily reported Thursday. The two men kidnapped habitual gambler Lu Ronfeng and demanded doctors at a city hospital remove the organ, the Shanghai Daily reported yesterday. Turned away, they decided to take him to the inland province of Anhui for the operation, but Lu escaped in the hospital parking lot and ran to a policeman. One of the alleged loansharks, Li Shenghe, was arrested on the spot and has been charged with illegally holding Lu, it said. Li denied trying to make Lu sell his kidney. His accomplice escaped.

■ Cambodia

Miracle slobber for sale

Thousands of ill Cambodians are flocking to a northern village to be licked by a mystical cow named Preah who is curing their complaints, its owner has claimed. Farmer Puch Pich said up to 400 people have been turning up daily for the past fortnight to be slobbered over, after the 13-month-old white beast apparently cured his wife Kong Mich of a chronic illness. They have been braving Cambodia's notoriously bad rainy season roads to travel from around the kingdom, paying 500 riel (US$0.13) per person for four licks on the limb or body part of their choice. "The cow won't lick people who don't put in their money ... and if he doesn't think you believe in his powers, he won't lick you either," Puch Pich quipped.

■ Hong Kong

'Queen of Piracy' nabbed

A Hong Kong housewife suspected of running a multi-million US dollar software and computer game piracy syndicate has been arrested, customs officers said yesterday. The 49-year-old woman -- nicknamed "Queen of Piracy" -- was arrested along with one of her three sons in an operation that began Wednesday. Pirated discs and copying equipment worth US$2.5 million were seized by a team of 150 customs officers who raided more than 10 locations around Hong Kong. The housewife is believed to be the mastermind of a family-run syndicate which made US$30,000 a month profit from manufacturing and selling pirated discs. The syndicate is believed to have been running for four years and has an annual turnover of millions of U.S. dollars. "We have arrested the mastermind and she is a housewife," Customs spokesman William Chau said.

■ China

China-Russia games set

China and Russia will hold joint military exercises next year, state media said yesterday. The games emerged from a visit to Moscow by Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of China's central military commission, but the scope and timing of the exercises had yet to be decided, the China Daily said. The two country's navies held their first joint exercise in October 1999 when a Russian destroyer and a cruiser visited China. Guo said the exercises would "jointly confront current challenges to safeguard world peace."

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