Alerts issued over grenades
More than 460 locations across Bangkok were put on high alert yesterday in response to a series of grenade attacks. Royal palaces, government buildings, power plants and public transport will receive special protection. Thousands of police, soldiers and city officials swelled Bangkok’s security presence so that streets can be patrolled around the clock, starting late yesterday. Bangkok authorities now plan to upgrade thousands of security cameras across the city, boosting storage capacity so that images can be saved for one month.
Minister denies nepotism
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan faced mounting public anger yesterday after his ministry hired his daughter for a well-paid job, sparking allegations of nepotism at a time of high unemployment. Yu on Friday made a public apology after the presidential Blue House, whose motto is to realize a “fair society,” reportedly called for an explanation from the ministry. Yu denied any undue favor had been shown to his daughter during the hiring process, Yonhap news agency said.
Bomb attack kills 22
A blast ripped through a rally in Quetta yesterday, killing at least 22 people. The attack on a Shiite Muslim rally called to express solidarity with the Palestinian people was the second major attack this week. Akbar Magsi, a senior police office in Quetta, said at least 40 people were injured.
‘Pink Panther’ indicted
Japanese prosecutors yesterday indicted a Montenegrin alleged member of the “Pink Panther” gang of international jewelry thieves over a robbery three years ago in Tokyo. Rifat Hadziahmetovic, whom Japanese police have described as the nation’s most-wanted fugitive, was last month extradited from Spain, where he had been taken into custody over other charges. Tokyo prosecutors alleged that he “robbed a jewelry store in Tokyo of two items, including a tiara, worth ¥284 million [US$3.37 million],” an official statement said. In the heist in the Ginza district on June 14, 2007, Hadziahmetovic and another “Pink Panther” member allegedly sprayed tear gas at store clerks, stole the jewelry and fled on bicycles. The gang is known to have stolen jewelry worth hundreds of millions of dollars in nearly 30 countries over the past decade.
Eleven officers arrested
Police said yesterday they had arrested 11 colleagues over the killing of six people when officers opened fire on a violent mob earlier this week. The arrests came as hundreds of armed police reinforcements fanned out in Buol town on Sulawesi to try to re-establish order after a riot on Wednesday, officials said. The 11 officers were arrested on Thursday and Friday as part of ongoing investigations into the violence, which saw hundreds of furious residents attack a police station with Molotov cocktails after a man died in custody. Provincial police spokesman Kahar Muzakir said the officers were being questioned over the death of the detainee at the station on Tuesday as well as the killing of six rioters outside the station on Wednesday night.
Bride-killer gets 24 years
A former policeman yesterday was jailed for at least 24 years for murdering his new bride by pushing her off a cliff during a camping trip. Desmond Campbell, 52, forced his wife, Janet, over the 50m precipice and then said she slipped in the darkness after leaving their tent to go to the toilet, a court in Sydney heard. Justice Megan Latham said Campbell, who had left the police and was working as a paramedic, killed his wife of six months for her money in an incident in March 2005 which showed “sustained callousness towards her for monetary gain.”
Man mauled by shark
An Australian man was attacked by a shark which mauled his face and neck during a holiday in the Solomon Islands, officials said yesterday. The man, identified by media as 34-year-old Benjamin D’Emden of Sydney, was in stable condition in hospital in the country’s capital Honiara, a foreign affairs spokesman said. Reports said D’Emden was swimming when the shark attacked him from below, biting into his face and leaving him with severe cuts. Doctors were hoping to fly him back to Australia for emergency treatment, the Daily Telegraph said.
Suspect nabbed in job hunt
An Indonesian maid who went on the run after being accused of murdering her Malaysian employer’s baby son has been arrested after coolly lining up an interview for a new job, police said yesterday. Police have been hunting for the 25-year-old woman from Java after the 15-month-old boy died last week and a post-mortem examination indicated foul play. She was arrested after approaching a family in Kuala Lumpur asking for a job. They recognized her from her picture in the newspaper and alerted police, Ampang District police chief Abdul Jalil Hassan said.
Boa smuggler pleads guilty
Keng Liang “Anson” Wong, 52, pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling after his bag bursting with 95 live boa constrictors, together with a few other snakes and a turtle, broke open on a luggage conveyer belt at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, wildlife department official Shamsuddin Osman said. Wong, who was previously convicted of wildlife trafficking in the US, was charged on Wednesday in a district court with exporting the endangered boas without a permit, Shamsuddin said. The offense carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a fine, Shamsuddin said, adding that the court would reconvene on Monday pending Wong’s appointment of a lawyer.
Lawyers fined for appeals
Two lawyers who repeatedly appealed minor traffic violations were fined and handed two-month bans by the highest court on Thursday for making “absurd and abusive accusations” in their defense. The Bavaria-based lawyers, who cannot be named by law, faxed a 1,182-page appeal to the Constitutional Court accusing lower courts of a “maddening ignorance of constitutional rights.” The court ruled that the lawyers, fined 300 euros (US$385) and 1,100 euros respectively, did not have the right to “disrupt its ability to work” by “pointlessly” appealing the convictions.
Oil activists arrested
Four Greenpeace activists who had clung to an oil rig off the west coast with rock-climbing gear were arrested on Thursday after an Arctic storm forced them to abandon their environmental protest. Police spokesman Morten Nielsen said the four men — from the US, Finland, Poland and Germany — faced preliminary charges of violating a 500m security perimeter around the Stena Don rig and trespassing by climbing onto the installation. The activists had been suspended under the rig since Tuesday to protest Scottish company Cairn Energy PLC’s deepwater drilling in the area, saying it could spark an oil rush in sensitive Arctic waters. “Our activists hung there for more than 40 hours but last night, a freezing storm and high waves made them decide it was too risky. So we contacted the police to say we were stopping the action,” Greenpeace spokesman Jon Burgwald said. Nielsen said the four men could face fines, prison terms or deportation.
Zimbabwean amnesty ends
The government is withdrawing the special status granted to illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who fled their country’s economic meltdown and political violence, a spokesman said. Government spokesman Themba Maseko said on Thursday that deportations would begin next year. The announcement brings to an end an amnesty from April last year that allowed Zimbabweans to stay in the country without passports and visas. “After Dec. 31, all undocumented Zimbabweans will be treated like all others and their deportation will resume,” he said.
Westwood store robbed
A gang of thieves on scooters have broken into a Vivienne Westwood store in London and made off with expensive designer handbags. Police said four people on two scooters crashed into the door of the shop in London’s busy West End area late on Wednesday. They said the thieves went into the shop to grab the handbags, which are worth up to £800 (US$1,232) each. Detectives are appealing for people who were at the crime scene to help the investigation.
A Russian businessman who fled the country after being held responsible for the death of 156 people in a nightclub fire has been arrested near his home in Barcelona, Spain, police said on Thursday. Konstantin Mrykhin, the commercial director of the Lame Horse club in the town of Perm, 1,150km east of Moscow, organized a pyrotechnics display last year which turned the disco into an inferno Mrykhin could face a 10-year prison sentence for manslaughter due to gross negligence for his involvement in the blaze, the worst night club fire since nearly 200 people died at a disco in Buenos Aires in 2004.
Goats rescued from perch
Two young goats that wandered onto the 15cm-wide ledge of a railroad bridge in southern Montana and spent two days 18m above a highway were hungry but safe when they were plucked to safety with a towering crane on Wednesday. The young female animals, weighing 13.6kg, mostly stayed on the angled ledge, even though there was a wider surface area on a pillar just a meter away. “The whole time, we thought they were going to fall off,” humane society president Sandy Church. “These guys are just babies.” Church said it wasn’t clear how the nimble-footed animals got into the predicament, but she speculated they wandered onto the ledge at night then froze after the sun rose and they discovered where they were.
Juror ordered to write essay
A Detroit-area woman who was removed from a jury for commenting about the ongoing case on Facebook has a longer writing task ahead: a five-page essay about the constitutional right to a fair trial. A judge ordered the essay on Thursday for Hadley Jons, three weeks after she wrote on Facebook that it was “gonna be fun to tell the defendant they’re GUILTY.” The trial, however, wasn’t over. “I’m sorry, very sorry,” Jons, 20, told Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski. The defense team discovered the post on Aug. 11 — before it had even started its case — and Jons was removed from the jury the next day. By Oct. 1, Jons must submit an essay about the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution and pay a US$250 fine.
Tanker runs aground in Arctic
A fuel tanker has run aground in the Northwest Passage, southwest of the town of Gjoa Haven in Nunavut territory, carrying 9 million liters of diesel fuel, but officials said on Thursday none had spilled into the Arctic waters. The ship was carrying fuel to remote communities in the region. Authorities and the ship’s owner Woodward’s Oil would attempt to float it off the sandbar.
Trunk’s owner identified
Investigators have identified the owner of a trunk in which the mummified remains of two babies were found on Aug. 17, bringing them a step closer to solving the intriguing international mystery. The owner of the steamer trunk, abandoned for decades in the basement of a Los Angeles apartment building, was Janet Barrie, a Scottish immigrant who was born in 1897 and worked as a nurse in the city before moving to Canada, where she died, California officials said on Thursday. The coroner’s office has been unable to determine how the babies died, and it may never be known why they were placed in the trunk or who put them there.
Six indicted for labor scheme
The Department of Justice on Thursday announced indictments against six people for luring 400 Thais to work as farm laborers in Hawaii and Washington state in 2004 and 2005. A grand jury in Honolulu indicted Mordechai Orian, Pranee Tubchumpol, Shane Germann and Sam Wongsesanit of the Los Angeles-based company Global Horizons Manpower and Thai labor recruiters Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai. Upon their arrival in the US, the Thais had their passports taken away and were forced to pay thousands of dollars in recruitment fees for work. If convicted, Orian and Tubchumpol face up to 70 years in prison, and Chunharutai faces up to 65 years in prison, officials said.
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,