Bridges top suicide choice
Suicidal people increasingly chose Han River bridges instead of subway stations for their fatal leaps after platform screen doors were installed at many stations, police said yesterday. The number of people who jumped off river bridges in Seoul increased 30 percent to 108 last year, the National Police Agency said in a report submitted to a ruling party lawmaker, Yoon Seok-yong. Twenty-eight of the 108 died. In contrast, the number of people who attempted suicide by throwing themselves in front of subway trains fell drastically to 29 last year from 77 in 2009, according to the report. Most of the incidents happened at stations without screen doors, indicating such barriers were effective in preventing suicides. The country’s suicide rate is the highest among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, with 15,413 taking their own lives in 2009.
Super surveillance planned
The mega-city of Chongqing plans to build a US$2.6 billion security system that will be one of the world’s largest with 500,000 surveillance cameras, state media said yesterday. Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun (王立軍) said the system would be the world’s largest new security network since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US, the Global Times reported. The system would dwarf a network of 40,000 security cameras installed in the capital of China’s far-western Xinjiang region last year, following deadly July 2009 clashes between Muslim Uighurs and members of the majority Han group. Chongqing’s more than 500,000 cameras, which are due to be installed by next year, will mainly be used for crime prevention, emergency controls and rescue operations, a police spokesman told the Global Times. The computerized cameras will be managed under one network, allowing authorities and emergency services in municipality of more than 30 million people to share the video feeds, it said.
Ibrahim wins rare victory
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim won a rare victory in his long-running sodomy trial yesterday as DNA tests on items taken from his detention cell were ruled as inadmissible. The High Court’s decision is a major boost for Anwar, a former deputy premier who was jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago, and who faces 20 years in jail if found guilty of the new charges. The court found that a toothbrush, mineral water bottle and a hand towel taken from the lock-up where Anwar was held after his arrest in July 2008 were improperly obtained. “I find that in this case the DNA samples from the three items ... were obtained by unfair means from the accused,” said Judge Zabidin Mohamed Diah, adding that they were to be “excluded from evidence.”
‘Enticer’ settles out of court
A man has reached an out-of-court settlement after being charged with luring someone else’s wife to have sex with him. Rights activists had criticized the charge against businessman Choy Khin Ming as archaic. The decades-old law makes it a crime punishable by two years in prison to “entice” a married woman into having sex. A district court terminated the case after Choy read an apology to Ryan Chong, the former husband of TV celebrity Daphne Iking. Chong initiated court proceedings against Choy in 2009 for having an affair with Iking before she and Chong divorced. Chong’s lawyer said yesterday that he was dropping the case as part of a settlement. Choy will also apologize in newspapers.