War leader dies
Nguyen Cao Ky, the flamboyant former air force general who ruled South Vietnam with an iron fist for two years during the Vietnam War, has died. He was 80. Peter Phan, Ky’s nephew, said Ky died early yesterday at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was being treated for respiratory complications. One of his nation’s most colorful leaders, Ky served as prime minister of US-backed South Vietnam in the mid-1960s. He had been commander of South Vietnam’s air force when he assumed the post in 1965, the same year US involvement in the war escalated. In power during some of the war’s most tumultuous times, he was a low-key but sometimes ruthless leader.
‘Castration’ law takes effect
A law allowing the use of “chemical castration” on sex offenders will take effect today, making the country the first in Asia to use such punishment, news reports said. Passed by parliament a year earlier, the law will allow judges to sentence sex offenders who victimize minors under 16 and have been diagnosed as sexual deviants to chemical castration for up to 15 years. Offenders would receive behavioral and psychological therapies in addition to drugs that suppress their libido. The number of offenders to be sentenced to chemical castration is expected to be about 100 every year, an unidentified justice ministry official told the Chosun Ilbo. The bill was introduced in 2008 after a spate of sexual attacks on minors sparked public anger.
MP charged with shoplifting
A lawmaker known for lampooning the government by dancing in parliament has been charged with shoplifting and assaulting a security guard, but has vowed to fight the allegations. Conservative MP Mary Jo Fisher is said to have stolen groceries worth almost A$100 (US$108) from a supermarket in December last year and pushed a female security officer who tried to stop her leaving the parking lot. “Police charged me on two matters,” she said in a statement released late on Friday. “I reject the charges and will vigorously defend them.” Party colleagues said she had been suffering from depression and had a panic attack in the supermarket when she realized she didn’t have enough money for the groceries. The court hearing is on Sept. 1. Fisher shot to national fame in March when she ridiculed the government’s climate change policies by doing a well-known children’s dance, the Hokey Pokey, in parliament.
Fugitive deported to China
Fugitive businessman Lai Changxing (賴昌星) arrived back in Beijing yesterday after being deported from Canada, ending a 12-year legal and diplomatic tug-of-war that tested the countries’ relations. Lai landed in the capital aboard a civilian flight in the custody of Canadian police and was handed over to authorities who arrested him, state television said, quoting a Ministry of Public Security statement. Xinhua news agency had reported earlier that Lai had been flown from Vancouver. Canadian authorities moved swiftly to return Lai after a Canadian federal court on Thursday ruled he should be deported — a move blocked for years by Canada’s courts and refugee board out of fear he could be executed or tortured.
Alleged war criminal arrested
Canada says the first of 30 suspected war criminals believed to be living illegally in the country has been arrested by immigration officials. Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez was arrested on Friday in Alberta. Ramirez, 44, is alleged to have been a member of a special army unit in his homeland of Honduras. Police did not elaborate on the nature of the crimes he is alleged to have committed. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Gonzalez-Ramirez made a refugee claim in 2006. The Immigration and Refugee Board declared him inadmissible to Canada a year later. He was scheduled to be deported in March last year, but vanished. The arrest comes a day after the Canadian government launched a Web site identifying people accused of committing or being accomplices to war crimes.