Drug addiction declines
The number of drug addicts in the country has dropped 8 percent so far this year due to a mixture of rehabilitation and strict controls, state media said yesterday. The number of officially registered drug addicts is now 720,400, down from 785,000 late last year, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Ministry of Public Security. The drop is mainly due to compulsory rehabilitation measures and strict checks on chemicals and narcotics, the ministry said, according to Xinhua. The National Narcotics Control Commission, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs have set up a network that tightens controls on chemicals that can be easily made into drugs.
Rape punishment: 51 slaps
A village council has ordered that a man be slapped 51 times in public for allegedly raping a woman after police refused to register the victim's complaint, the body's head said yesterday. Relatives and residents would publicly shame the man, village head Badr-ul Hasan said. Hasan said the governing council of the village of Rampur stepped in after police refused to record the statement of the deaf and mute victim, saying she could not communicate properly. Elected village councils do not have judicial powers, but people often settle disputes through them to save the time and money of lengthy court proceedings.
Bomb kills three children
A bomb apparently left by communist rebels exploded in a remote mountain village in eastern Nepal, killing three children, officials said yesterday. The children were believed to be playing with the bomb when it accidentally exploded on Thursday at Aathrai village, about 500km west of the capital, Kathmandu. Durga Bhandari, the chief administrative official in the area, said a police team left for the village yesterday to investigate the explosion in the area which is under Maoist rebel control. The village is about a one-day trek from the district capital where the officials are based.
■ South Korea
Choi nailed for harassment
A legislator was sentenced yesterday to six months in jail, which was suspended for one year, for sexually harassing a female reporter. Choi Yeon-hee, former secretary-general of the main opposition Grand National Party, was accused of grabbing the breasts of a local newspaper reporter during a drinking party in February. He quit the party after coming in for strong public criticism. Parliament in April passed a resolution calling for his resignation, the first time it had ever taken such action. "Compared to normal harassment cases, this incident caused bigger damage to its victim and thus required a sincere effort by the accused to console the victim," said Judge Whang Hyun-zoo at Seoul Central District Court.
Cricket umpire sentenced
A former international cricket umpire faced charges of sexually abusing deaf teenage children in his care in an Australian court yesterday. Anthony McQuillan appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on 12 child sex charges, including five counts of sodomy, five of indecent assault against boys and two of indecent assault against girls. The offenses allegedly occurred between 1974 and 1998, when McQuillan taught deaf children in the Queensland state education system. Prosecutors said his victims were aged 14 to 16. Lawyers for McQuillan said he denied the charges and successfully applied for bail.