Traffic incident fuels riot
Two policemen were killed and six others injured when up to 200 construction workers attacked a police station in Wanrong County, Shanxi Province on Sunday, following an altercation over a traffic incident, state press reported yesterday. Nine trucks loaded with the workers attacked the county traffic-police station with clubs and bricks, the Shanxi News Web site said. The workers were retaliat-ing for the arrest of nine colleagues earlier in the day on suspicion of being involved in a hit and run accident, it said. After arriving at the police station, the workers began attacking any policeman in sight while raining bricks down on the police station.
Trio dies in group suicide
Three people were found dead inside a car parked outside a remote forest yesterday in what police suspected was the country's latest group suicide. The two women and a man, whose identities were not immediately known, were found in Yayoi, Oita prefect-ure, local police spokesman Hideo Sugano said. The three are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, Sugano said. Three portable stoves containing solid charcoal fuel sat on the floor and the windows were sealed with vinyl tape from the inside. Japan has uncovered a series of recent suicide pacts, many plotted by people who met over the Internet.
Hokkaido rocked by quake
Japan's main northern island of Hokkaido was jolted late Monday by a powerful earthquake registering 6.9 on the Richter scale, lightly injuring four people, days after a tremor of similar magnitude. The quake struck a relatively deep 46km below sea level in the ocean just east of the island's tip, the Japan Meteorological Agency said in revised measurements. The agency issued a warning for tsunami tidal waves which it called off 40 minutes later at 11:55pm. Two men, a nine-year-old boy and a 77-year-old woman suffered minor injuries from the impact felt in towns in Hokkaido, Kyodo News agency reported.
■ Hong Kong
Store selling dog meat
A top supermarket chain admitted yesterday some of its stores in mainland China had sold dog meat two years after the company vowed under public pressure to halt the practice. ParknShop, part of the Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate, said six of its stores had sold dog meat. "We sold it for around two weeks in only six stores in Shenzhen and Dongguan and stopped selling already on Dec. 2," ParknShop spokeswoman Teresa Pang said in a statement. She said new managers at the stores were unaware the company had a policy of not selling dog meat.
Crisis hotline too busy
Nine out of 10 people calling into a suicide-prevention hotline in Beijing are getting the busy tone, a newspaper said yesterday, adding that nationwide four people were killing themselves every minute. So far, more than 110,000 people had dialed in to the Beijing Suicide Research and Prevention Center hotline since it was set up in Beijing last year, the China Daily said. But a lack of funds meant that not everyone who needed the hotline was getting through, said Michael Phillips, executive director of the suicide prevention center. "Nine of every 10 persons only hear a busy tone," he told the newspaper. "It's very dangerous because they may be at high risk of committing suicide."
■ United States
WTC claim pays double