A rebel soldier who turned himself in to face charges stemming from his involvement in two coup attempts in the Philippines against a former president said yesterday he had no regrets over his actions. \nMarine Captain Nicanor Faeldon, who was accused of helping lead 300 soldiers in taking over the upscale Oakwood Hotel and a nearby shopping center in Manila in July 2003 and of fleeing a courtroom in 2007 while on trial, said he was turning himself in because the country had a new, legitimately elected president. \n“There is no reason for me to stay unaccountable now because we have a new government which has the mandate of the people,” Faeldon said after he was taken into military custody. \n“I cannot choose my own commander in chief. But in the case of the previous president, I am one of those who believe she didn’t possess the mandate of the people,” he said. \nFaeldon went into hiding after he walked out of a court in November 2007 and along with other mutinous officers occupied a five-star Manila hotel to press their demand for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s resignation. \nFaeldon and the others were on trial for a previous coup attempt in July 2003. The rebels denounced corruption in the government and the armed forces. \nBoth incidents highlighted the Philippines’ political instability and restiveness in the 120,000-member military, which has struggled to modernize and train its troops to fight multiple insurgencies despite funding shortfalls. \nArroyo has been accused of vote rigging during the 2004 election, corruption and favoritism, allegations that stoked political and military unrest during her nine years in office. She stepped down last week and has denied any wrongdoing. \nHer successor, newly elected President Benigno Aquino III, has promised to form a commission to investigate his predecessor. \nFaeldon and his co-accused have said they did not plan to stage coups and were simply protesting Arroyo’s policies. They are facing charges of mutiny and organizing an attempted coup. \nOf the original number, nine officers were convicted and sentenced in 2008 to prison terms of 12 to 40 years. They later apologized to Arroyo and were pardoned. But six others refused to say they were sorry and five of them are still being detained. \nMost of the others have been discharged and some have returned to service.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘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
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread