Car-loving official arrested
A senior civil servant with a penchant for Italian supercars has been arrested for defrauding the government of about S$12 million (US$9.09 million), officials said. It is reportedly the worst case of corruption in the city-state in 15 years. Koh Seah Wee, 40, deputy director at the IT department of the Singapore Land Authority, allegedly raised fake invoices for nonexistent projects and pocketed the money. Assets including a Lamborghini and a Ferrari have been recovered from Koh and a colleague, 37-year-old Christopher Lim Chai Meng (林才明). Koh was charged in court on Tuesday with 249 counts of cheating and other offenses.
Woman plunges to her death
An Australian woman fell to her death when her parachute failed to open after she jumped off a tower to practice for a parachuting event, organizers said yesterday. Kylie Tanti Marion, 42, was performing her third jump on Tuesday while practicing at the Alor Setar Tower in Alor Setar when she plunged to her death, tower management said in a statement. Marion, an experienced skydiver, died instantly, according to officials from Telekom Malaysia, which owns the 165m-high tower. She was among 24 foreign and local participants preparing for the KL Tower International Jump on Oct. 7.
Teens left baby in trash can
A teenage couple has been sentenced to two years detention for leaving their newborn in a trash can — a penalty that a prosecutor said was harsh in order to send a message about the consequences of unwanted pregnancies. A district court in Malacca state on Tuesday sentenced Mohamad Zolhalmi Khamis, 18, to two years in prison and his girlfriend, who will turn 18 next month, to a detention school for juvenile criminals until she turns 20, prosecutor Farah Wahida Mohamad Nor said. The factory workers had pleaded guilty to abandoning their newborn daughter in a trash can at the factory last month. The baby has been returned to the mother and her family, Farah said.
Virginity tests rejected
The government on Tuesday dismissed a lawmaker’s proposal to force teenage schoolgirls to undergo virginity tests. Lawmakers in Sumatra island’s Jambi Province have agreed to drop the idea, which was proposed by local parliamentarian Bambang Bayu Suseno. Suseno believes girls should be required to pass virginity tests before they can enter state-funded high schools, citing concerns over pre-marital sex. “Parents are obviously afraid of their daughters being deflowered before the time comes, so before they continue their studies they can undergo a virginity test and automatically protect their dignity,” he told the Jakarta Post newspaper. “Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?”
Whale freed from rope
Rescuers cut free a humpback whale yesterday that had been entangled for at least two days in a heavy rope that officials said would have caused its slow death. The rescuers in two boats took seven hours to tire out the 12m animal before they could cut the rope, Conservation Department spokeswoman Carolyn Smith said. Similar efforts failed on Tuesday. Spotted close to North Island’s east coast by a fisherman on Monday, the 30-tonne humpback had heavy green nylon rope wrapped around its head and tail. “Immediately following its release, the whale headed steadily out to sea,” Smith said.