Policeman killed in blast
Multiple attacks in the troubled south yesterday killed a policeman and injured dozens more police and civilians, officials said. Two men riding a motorcycle tossed a hand grenade toward 50 police officers as they received a morning briefing from their commander at the Pattani provincial police station, a spokesman said. The blast killed a sergeant and injured 43 officers, with two in critical condition. Two hours later and just 30m away, a car bomb exploded, injuring another 17 people.
Sex bribe probe launched
The country’s top prosecutor yesterday launched a probe into allegations that dozens of prosecutors had been bribed with sex with prostitutes by a builder in return for business favors. Prosecutor-General Kim Joon-gyu opened an investigation after a TV program disclosed a detailed list of 57 prosecutors and their alleged activities. The businessman told MBC television that he had offered sex with prostitutes and other bribes to around 100 prosecutors in Busan and its surroundings since 1984. He disclosed a list of “bribed” prosecutors and their cellphone numbers, giving detailed written accounts of sex, drinks, cash and other favors being offered. The prosecutors involved deny the charges.
Pirate attacks fell this year
The number of pirate attacks around the world fell in the first three months of this year, a maritime watchdog said, though the risk off the Somali coast remained high. There were 67 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery on the high seas, down from 102 in the same period last year, the International Maritime Bureau said in a report. The decrease was attributed to a dramatic decline in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, where reported incidents fell to 17, from 41 last year. An international armada has been patrolling the Gulf, one of the globe’s busiest maritime trade routes, since 2008 in a bid to stop pirates from hijacking commercial vessels.
Illegal ivory tusks seized
Authorities said yesterday they have seized a massive ivory haul, confiscating 296 elephant tusks sent from Qatar to Bangkok international airport. The customs department said they acted on a tip-off to discover the tusks in a shipment declared as “printing metal,” bound for a Thai company based in the capital. A customs official said the tusks, weighing 1,390kg and valued at 70 million baht (US$2.2 million dollars), most likely originated from southern Africa. The case is under investigation and no arrests have yet been made, the official said.
Protest over food prices
Thousands of demonstrators rallied in the capital, New Delhi, yesterday to protest against fast-rising food prices and other consumer bills. Many demonstrators from neighboring states arrived on special buses and trains for the rally organized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest food inflation. BJP president Nitin Gadkari has blamed the “wrong economic policies of the government” for the price rises. High inflation, especially affecting food, is a lightning rod for unrest in the country, where 370 million people live below the poverty line. The opposition has blamed the ruling Congress party for failing to keep a check on prices since it returned to power in elections last year on the back of pro-poor policies.