In India, it's the season of the fake sting.
The report was sensational: A math teacher in New Delhi turned her classroom into a brothel, forcing high-school students into prostitution.
A TV reporter set up a sting to expose her, posing as a customer and secretly taping a conversation with the teacher. A young woman who said she was one of the teacher's students described her ordeal on camera.
After the report aired, a mob attacked the school, dragged the teacher outside and beat her. Protesters set a car on fire and stoned passing traffic. Police arrested the teacher "solely on the basis of the sting operation," Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told the Hindustan Times.
But there was one catch: Police now believe it was all made up.
Rashmi Singh, the young woman posing as a student-turned-prostitute, was neither of those things, police said, but appears to have been an ambitious reporter looking to make her mark.
The reporter posing as a customer, Prakash Singh, was allegedly working with someone whom the teacher owed money to, authorities said.
And the teacher, Uma Khurana, who was fired from her job and spent 10 days in jail, was "more of a victim than an offender," judge Alok Agrawal said when he ordered her released on bail on Monday.
She was not the only victim: On Monday, three men were arrested for posing as journalists in an attempt to blackmail a member of parliament.
The three men tried to bribe parliamentarian Rameshwar Oraon -- then announced they were conducting a TV news sting. They told him they would quash the report if he paid them.
Oraon did not fall for it, and the three were charged with impersonation and extortion.
In the school-prostitution sting, Prakash Singh and Rashmi Singh have been arrested on criminal conspiracy charges, along with the man to whom the teacher owed money.
That fake sting operation -- dubbed "Stink Operation" by local newspapers -- was a glaring example of the dishonesty some say is rife in India's hyper-competitive media world.
Less than a generation ago, newspaper reporters had only one another to elbow aside, and India had just one TV channel, the state-run Doordarshan.
Today, there are more than 100, 24-hour news channels.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses