China repatriating refugees
Nine North Korean refugees detained by China are being transferred to a border area in preparation for repatriation despite pleas from South Korea, reports said yesterday. The South’s foreign ministry and human rights groups have urged Beijing not to send them back against their will, saying they may face harsh punishment. Opposition lawmaker Park Sun-young told Yonhap news agency that China was transferring the nine to Tumen and plans to repatriate 10 others held in Shenyang, plus five from Changchun. In addition, a family of three North Koreans was captured by Chinese authorities in Longging on Monday and would also be returned, she said.
Tour guide arrested
A tour guide has been arrested over the kidnapping of four compatriots by Philippine gunmen, who allegedly included local policemen, police said yesterday. The 33-year-old, identified only as Choi, was held on Thursday during an investigation into the kidnapping of the South Korean tourists in Manila on Tuesday, police said. The guide told investigators he had conspired with Philippine police officers and a South Korean broker staying in Manila, a police spokesman in the central city of Daejeon said. The four were released after their families paid a total ransom of 24 million won (about US$21,000) through a Korean middleman living in Manila, Yonhap news agency said, adding that Choi later shared the ransom with Philippine police.
Maid admits to killing
A teenage Indonesian maid is facing a long jail term after pleading guilty to hitting and strangling an 87-year-old Singaporean widow who called her stupid, the Straits Times said on Thursday. Now 19, Vitria Depsi Wahyuno had lied about her age in 2009, saying she was 23 to meet the minimum age requirement, and landed a job working for Sng Gek Wah, the report said. Wahyuno, who had been employed for only five days when the killing took place, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to culpable homicide. Prosecutors have asked for a 20-year-jail term. The defense, pleading for leniency, said Wahyuno was of low intelligence and could not cope with a demanding employer who called her hurtful names.Neighbors told the Straits Times that Sng was a “fierce” woman, who could often be heard scolding Wahyuno. Sentencing is scheduled for March 7.
Fifteen miners dead
Fifteen miners died and three were injured when a tramcar derailed in a coal mine in Hunan Province, authorities said on Thursday. The incident happened at a pit near Leiyang City in the early hours of Thursday morning, the work safety administration said in a statement. Rescue efforts were still under way, local officials said. Accidents are common in China’s vast coal mining sector, where work safety is often neglected by bosses seeking a quick profit.
Villager kills daughters
Police said a man crushed his three daughters to death with stones while they slept in a remote mountain village. They said 35-year-old Bhakta Bahadur Rumba killed the girls — aged 7, 10 and 13 — yesterday morning at their house in Faparbari Village, about 80km south of the capital, Kathmandu. The man’s wife was away attending a relative’s wedding. Police said the man was arrested and was being taken with the bodies to Hetauda, the nearest city. They said the motive for the killings was unknown.