Official fired over funeral
A ranking official in the southern part of the country has been sacked for arranging an extravagant funeral for his mother, state media reported yesterday. Xie Pingfa (謝平發), former director of the highway bureau in Lufeng city in Guangdong Province, invited more than 1,000 people to the funeral in November which included a 100-table banquet, Xinhua news agency said. The event caused outrage among local residents and the local branch of the Communist Party's discipline commission launched an investigation leading to Xie's dismissal as a "bad social influence," according to Xinhua.
Teens arrested for murder
Police have arrested four teenage boys for kidnapping their classmate for ransom and killing him, media said yesterday, amid worsening crime in the booming southern province of Guangdong. The suspects, aged 15 to 17, kidnapped their classmate, Zhao Shaoxu (趙少旭), in Shantou city in Guangdong on Dec. 29, the online edition of Xinhua news agency said, quoting the Guangzhou Daily. They murdered the 15-year-old victim within hours but phoned his father repeatedly to demand 500,000 yuan (US$67,000) in ransom. The father, a private entrepreneur, recognized the voice of one of the callers and reported it to police. The boys were found the next day and confessed.
Vulgarity crackdown begins
The government is launching a nationwide crackdown on sexually suggestive video and audio products, in the latest effort by government censors to curb content considered to be in bad taste. During the three-month campaign, audio and video producers should stop making "vulgar" products and recall those that are already on the market, the country's General Administration of Press and Publication said. "Some of the video and audio products are coarsely made, containing materials of bad taste," the regulator said in a notice on its Web site. The questionable material includes suggestive language and partially nude images used to promote sales, it said.
More arrests made over tape
Police have made two more arrests over a sex tape featuring the health minister who was forced to resign over the scandal last week, reports said yesterday. The New Straits Times said a 48-year-old DVD vendor found in possession of three copies of the recording, and a woman in her 20s, were detained on Saturday on suspicion of distributing the footage. Police have already arrested a 29-year-old beauty salon owner and a 50-year-old farmer over the video, which showed married minister Chua Soi Lek having sex in a hotel room with an unidentified woman.
■ SOUTH KOREA
Missing sailor found dead
One of the 14 sailors missing from a cargo ship that sank off the south coast last week was found dead on Saturday, the Coast Guard said. Local fisherman found the body in their net at around 1:50am at a site 19km from where the cargo ship sank on Dec. 25, the Coast Guard said in a statement. Family members later identified the body as that of Ye Heung-rak, 54, the Coast Guard said. Ye was one of 15 sailors aboard the ship, which sank in bad weather off the coast of Yeosu, 455km south of Seoul, while carrying 2,000 tonnes of nitric acid. One crew member was rescued hours after the accident, but 13 others are still missing. On Friday, divers found the ship on the sea floor in about 67m of water.