■ New Zealand
Thieves steal tiki penis
Masked thieves armed with a chisel stole the penis of a wooden Maori figurine, or tiki, at the entrance of a public library in northern New Zealand, police said. Security cameras captured pictures of three masked men using the chisel to remove the tiki's penis early on Sunday morning. The figurine is one of two indigenous Maori designs that stand on pou or posts astride the entrance to the library in Whangarei. Carver Kerry Strongman said the theft had damaged the "mana" or pride of the city. Police said they were at a loss to explain the theft, particularly as a nearby statue of Tangaroa, the Maori god of the sea, was better endowed. Strongman said he would begin work immediately on a carving that would restore the tiki to its original state.
Britons accused of ATM theft
Three 21-year-old Britons were to appeal in court yesterday on charges of theft and computer misuse for allegedly using dozens of counterfeit ATM cards to make withdrawals from cash machines, police said. The three men, who were not identified, were arrested on Wednesday evening while using an ATM machine. A search of the men yielded 35 cloned ATM cards, many with the PIN numbers attached, police said in a statement. The statement said the ATM cards were cloned with data stolen from European bank accounts.
■ South Korea
Killer sentenced to death
A serial killer who murdered 13 people and injured 20 in 25 separate attacks has been sentenced to death. A Seoul district court said it passed the highest possible sentence because Chung Nam-kyu showed no remorse for his crimes and there was a danger he would repeat them, the JoonAng Daily reported yesterday. "The accused prepared for his crimes with gloves and masks and tried to commit the perfect crimes. ... The motives were not financial or based on individual grudges but were done for his own satisfaction," the judgment said. Chung was quoted as saying after the sentence that his life had been "a mess."
■ South Korea
North has nuke tunnel: paper
North Korea has built an underground tunnel for possible use in a nuclear test, a South Korean newspaper reported yesterday, amid concerns that the communist nation may be planning such a move. A 700m deep shaft has been built with a horizontal tunnel running nearby at Mount Mantap in North Hamkyong province on the North's northeast coast, the English-language JoongAng Daily reported, citing Chung Hyung-keun, a lawmaker from the opposition Grand National Party. Chung obtained the information from the National Intelligence Service, the South's spy agency, according to the report.
Tiananmen prisoner released
A Chinese factory worker has been released after serving 17 years in jail for setting fire to a military vehicle during the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, he said on Thursday. Zhang Maosheng was 21 years old in 1989 when he was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of counterrevolutionary arson. His sentence was commuted to life in prison and then reduced several times for good behavior. Reached at his mother's Beijing home, Zhang, now 38, confirmed that he was released on Sept. 13 after 17 years and three months in jail. He declined to speak further, saying that the conditions of his parole forbid him from talking to the media.