Drug dealer suspects killed
Eight suspected drug dealers were killed yesterday in a clash with security forces who seized weapons and a large amount of illegal amphetamines, the military said. A team of police and soldiers encountered up to 10 suspects while on patrol in northern Chiang Rai Province early yesterday, resulting in a shoot-out that lasted about 10 minutes, according to a statement. About 700,000 amphetamine pills were seized along with 55kg of crystal methamphetamine, one AK-47 rifle, two pistols and 10 bullets, it said. There were no reports of any casualties among the security forces.
‘Legal high’ drugs banned
The government yesterday announced plans to ban the use of drugs offering so-called ‘legal’ highs unless manufacturers can provide clinical evidence they are safe. Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne described the move as a knockout blow to the market for products such as synthetic cannabis and legal “party pills,” which mimic the effects of drugs like ecstasy without using illicit substances. Dunne said current legislation was failing because as soon as regulators banned a synthetic drug, manufacturers simply tweaked its formula slightly and relaunched it in the marketplace. At the moment, authorities must prove a synthetic drug is harmful before ordering it off the shelves. Dunne said that under the new law, all synthetic psychoactive drugs would be illegal until their producers provide clinical proof, such as toxicology reports and evidence from human trials, that they are safe.
Police pursue escaped bear
Police shot dead one bear and another was on the run after the pair of female six-year-olds escaped from a farm on the outskirts of Seoul on Saturday, a report said. The bears broke out of their pen in Yongin, about 40km from Seoul, the Yonhap news agency said, quoting police. About 20 police hunters and 10 dogs went after the bears and one of them was shot dead about three hours later. The other remains on the loose. No one was hurt at the farm, which raises about 100 bears, police officer Wi Ma-seok said.
Japan ambassador recalled
Japanese Ambassador Uichiro Niwa has returned to Tokyo for talks amid new tensions between the two countries over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Niwa returned to Japan on Sunday to discuss bilateral relations following an order from Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba. Niwa told reporters at Beijing airport that consultations would center on recent developments over the islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyutai (釣魚台) in Chinese. Japan controls the uninhabited islands, but Taipei and Beijing also claim sovereignty. Conservative lawmakers criticized Niwa last month for opposing plans to nationalize the islands to strengthen Tokyo’s claim to them.
Bush crash killed at least 15
Police say a passenger bus has fallen into a gorge in the mountains of Kashmir, killing at least 15 people, with at least 17 others injured. Police officer Anil Mangotra said the driver apparently lost control on a sharp bend on a highway near Ramban, a town about 150km south of Srinagar, the main city in Indian-held Kashmir. The bus fell 40m into the gorge at about midnight on Saturday. The injured have been hospitalized, the official said on Sunday.
Lightning injures 17