Communist guerrillas have freed a gold mining company officer and two other employees after two days of captivity in the southern Philippines, officials said yesterday. A rebel spokesman said they had been questioning the three about company weapons. The three, who included the company owner’s son, were released unharmed late on Saturday by the New People’s Army rebels outside Rosario town in Agusan del Sur province, regional army spokesman Major Eugene Osias said. Army troops suspended a manhunt to allow officials to safely negotiate the hostages’ release, he said.
About 30 guerrillas attacked the VTO mining firm on Thursday, abducting the three and seizing at least 17 rifles, shotguns and pistols, Osias said.
Rebel spokesman Jorge Madlos said they suspected the mining firm had a stockpile of weapons. The rebels have asked mining companies not to keep lots of weapons that they say could be used by security men to commit human rights abuses and harass villagers.
The guerrillas did not plan to abduct the three, Madlos said. The rebels were asking the employees about the alleged cache of weapons when they were told that army troops had been seen nearby, prompting them to take the three to a rebel encampment to continue the questioning.
The New People’s Army, which is listed by Washington as a terrorist group, has intensified attacks on mining companies and banana plantations in the south in recent years, accusing them of exploiting the country’s resources and workers. The rebels are estimated to number slightly more than 4,000.
In one of their biggest attacks staged in years, more than 200 guerrillas stormed three sprawling nickel mining compounds in October last year in southern Surigao del Norte province, briefly holding company staff hostage and burning offices, heavy equipment and several trucks. Government forces have strengthened security at the mines.
The rural-based Marxist rebellion has raged for 43 years and is one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent