■ New Zealand
Traction patient flees
Police were hunting yesterday for a man who fled a New Zealand hospital spinal unit wearing a traction apparatus and with both arms in casts. The man disappeared yesterday from the Burwood Spinal Unit in the southern city of Christchurch wearing a traction "halo" to correct a serious neck injury and elbow-to-wrist plaster casts, police said in a statement. Removing the halo could cause potentially fatal injuries, police said. It was not immediately clear how the man sustained the injuries that put him in hospital, nor why he decided to flee before completing his treatment.
Ex-trader sentenced to death
A former trader with a Chinese securities company has been sentenced to death for embezzling millions of dollars worth of public funds, state media said yesterday. The official Xinhua News Agency said Yang Yanming, 57, had stolen 97.5 million yuan (US$12 million) while serving as general manager of the Beijing securities trading department of China Great Wall Trust and Investment Corporation between June 1998 and August 2003. Yang's death sentence was handed down after a guilty verdict was rendered at Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court on Tuesday, the agency said. It said Yang used the stolen funds for personal pursuits, including starting a private firm and purchasing real estate.
Japanese killer not guilty
A drug-crazed Japanese surfer who stabbed a fellow hostel resident to death in a beachside Sydney suburb was yesterday found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Noritaka Kawasaki, 28, was ordered detained in the psychiatric ward of a prison hospital subject to periodic review by psychiatrists. He will not be released until he is no longer considered a danger to himself or the community, New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Graham Barr ruled. Kawasaki had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wayne Lee Nolan, who was stabbed several times in a backpacker hostel in the northern Sydney suburb of Avalon in December last year.
Doctors remove boy's tumor
Singaporean surgeons have removed a tumor the size of a human head growing on the neck and over the chest of a grossly underweight Indonesian boy following a 10-hour operation, hospital officials said. Lukas Wahangara, 12, underwent surgery late last month to remove a 2kg thyroid growth at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital here, a statement from the facility said. The tumor measured 20cm in diameter and made up around 10 percent of his total body weight of just 19kg, said Goh Yau Hong, one of the doctors involved in the surgery.
■ Hong Kong
Racing bus drivers convicted
Two bus drivers who killed two passengers and injured 15 others when they raced each other through the streets of Hong Kong were facing lengthy jail terms yesterday. Poon Wing-kay, 30, and Liu Chun-pong, 25, drivers of public minibuses, caused a horrific accident by racing each other through traffic lights in October last year. Their minibuses collided after they raced through a set of traffic lights and two passengers, aged 23 and 50, died in the crash, which sent one spinning onto its side. Fifteen other passengers had to be taken to hospital suffering from cuts and bruises after the high speed collision following a race in which they jumped several sets of red lights.