■ Hong Kong
Gem theft thwarted
Two gem thieves were arrested on the first day of a huge jewelry fair in Hong Kong for trying to switch fake diamonds for real ones, police said yesterday. The men from China allegedly replaced a HK$210,000 (US$27,000) diamond from a stand and put an identical sized fake in its place. Police were alerted and the two men were arrested after a struggle at the opening day of the five-day fair in Hong Kong's Convention and Exhibition Center on Wednesday. A police spokesman said the suspects, aged 26 and 33, were held overnight for questioning but charges had not yet been laid. A number of other fake diamonds were found in the suspects' possession.
Prostitutes, shrine don't mix
Mixing prostitutes and patriotism is dangerous business in China: Five people received jail sentences of up to 12 years for running a call-girl ring in a revolutionary martyrs shrine. Manager Zhang Chuanhu was given the heaviest sentence for organizing women to offer sexual services and perform stripteases in the Zhongshan Hotel, part of the Martyrs Mausoleum complex in southwestern Luzhou City, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. The site is dedicated to people who died for the revolutionary cause since 1911, when China's last dynasty, the Qing, was overthrown by a revolutionary army. Four others who helped manage Zhang's prostitutes were sentenced to eight months to 10 years in prison, Xinhua said. Government officials and police who helped protect the operation were also punished, it said, without giving details.The harshness of the penalties appeared to be linked to the site's sensitive status.
Talks with China next week
Japan and China will meet late next week to settle a feud over claims to undersea oil and gas deposits in disputed waters, a Japanese government official said, following Japan's protests over new drilling activity by China in the area. The two sides agreed to resume talks on jointly developing reserves that fall within the countries' UN-defined maritime economic zones, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said late on Wednesday. Earlier this week, Tokyo urged Beijing to reverse what it said was a one-sided decision to start extracting natural gas from the Tianwaitian oil field in the East China Sea.
Officer stabs wife, judge
An Indonesian navy officer stabbed to death his former wife and a judge who tried to save her after a court ruled against him in a divorce hearing, a navy police official said yesterday. Captain Muhammad Irfan refused to accept the ruling by the three-member panel in Sidoarjo in East Java, which rejected his claim to a house inherited from his former in-laws, the official said. Irfan rushed out to his car, grabbed a dagger and went back to the courtroom where he repeatedly stabbed ex-wife Eka Suhartini, and then attacked judge Ahmad Taufik when he tried to stop him, said the official, identified only as Winky. Local newspaper Jawa Pos quoted Irfan after the arrest as saying "I just went wild."
Fake maps confuse drivers
Can't seem to navigate China's mammoth city of Shanghai? Check your map, it's probably counterfeit. An increasing number of drivers in Shanghai are having trouble getting to their destinations when the rely on their car's GPS navigation system because many electronic maps installed are fake, the Shanghai Daily reported. The government is aware of the problem but is at loss over how to handle it because there are no statutes on its books to deal with such a modern phenomena, the newspaper said yesterday. Although the Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping granted eight companies the right to produce electronic navigation maps only six months ago the number of counterfeit, and misleading, maps exceed genuine ones.