■ Hong Kong
Fake job man jailed
A businessman who swindled Filipina maids out of money by promising them high-paid jobs in South Korea began a two-year jail sentence yesterday. Wong Chi-wing, 41, told 16 Filipinas he could secure factory jobs for them in South Korea paying US$940 a month, around double what they were earning as maids. They each paid between US$250 and US$700 as a "processing" fee between January and October last year but the jobs never materialized, Kowloon City Court heard on Tuesday. Wong was arrested when three of his victims met him to demand a refund and called police who arrested him on the spot.
Qarase claims victory
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase claimed victory yesterday for his governing United Fiji Party (SDL) following racially charged general elections in the South Pacific island nation. He also promised to end a damaging stand-off with the country's military leader over plans to offer amnesties to the plotters of a 2000 coup which deposed the country's first ethnic Indian prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry. "The SDL party and my colleagues feel honored and privileged to be the government of the day for the next five years," Qarase said on commercial radio. "We will have a working majority and that is good enough."
Burglars net US$2 million
Burglars stole diamonds and jewelery worth up to 100 million rupees (US$2.2 million) in a well-planned heist in the south, police said on Tuesday. The burglars managed to rob the upmarket jewelery store in the city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh state without alerting security guards, police said. Police said the robbers broke into the Alukkas shop in the early hours of Tuesday by forcing open the main back door and drilling holes into others so they could reach through and unlock them. The burglars discovered the loot in an area without a security alarm. The jewelery was normally kept in another room with alarms, police said.
Beijing to host Hamas
China said yesterday it will host the foreign minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, and added that Beijing's interests in the Middle East range beyond oil to development issues and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar is among 23 ministers from Arab states and entities invited to Beijing late this month for a conclave on China-Arab relations, Zhai Jun (翟俊) of the Chinese foreign ministry said at a news conference. Zahar's government, which came to power in elections in January, has largely been shunned by the US and EU, which consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
Foreigners will be photographed and fingerprinted on arrival as part of measures to prevent terrorism, under a measure approved by parliament yesterday. Civic groups and lawyers have said the legislation, approved by parliament's upper house, risks breaching human rights and invading individuals' privacy. The new legislation, which had previously passed the lower house and now becomes law, exempts children under 16, diplomats and "special permanent residents" including ethnic Koreans. It allows Japan to deport any arriving foreigner it considers to be a terrorist, and requires planes and ships arriving in Japan to submit lists of passengers.
Mugger pleads for bus fare