Police target pickpockets
Paris police said on Wednesday they would deploy more officers to protect tourists against pickpockets and launch an awareness campaign to fight fake charity organizations targeting visitors. The efforts come in the wake of several incidents that have tarnished the image of Paris — the world’s most visited city — including the brief closing of the Louvre museum last month by workers protesting increasingly aggressive pickpockets. The Paris police prefecture said it was increasing the number of officers deployed at key sites. It will also begin distributing leaflets in heavily touristed areas, in English and French, warning against a trend that involves young criminals asking visitors to make donations to false charities or to sign false petitions, distracting them from pickpockets. Among tourists increasingly being targeted are visitors from China, with the Chinese embassy recently reporting an increase in the number of complaints.
Coin toss decides election
A coin toss has decided the lucky winner of mayor for a small Philippine town, after rival candidates were tied at the end the vote count, an election official said yesterday. The dramatic conclusion to the contest for San Teodoro, a farming town of about 16,000 people in the central Philippines, took place at the local election office, with the politicians tossing a coin to decide their fate. “They agreed to a coin toss, with the candidate getting the most heads proclaimed the winner,” San Teodoro election chief Reny Pagilagan said. He said tension built as the first tiebreak competition of five coin tosses each also ended in a draw, with both politicians getting two heads. Marvic Feraren, a member of the ruling Liberal Party, finally emerged the winner in the second tiebreak event, throwing two heads to his opponent’s one. “Both of them accepted the result. They shook hands and embraced,” Pagilagan said.
Couple jailed for maid death
A court yesterday sentenced a couple to 24 years in jail for starving their Cambodian maid to death, one of many such abuse cases straining ties between the country and its neighbors. Hardware store owners Soh Chew Tong, 44, and his wife, Chin Chui Ling, 42, were found guilty of culpable homicide at a high court in the northern state of Penang, prosecutor Tan Guat Cheng said. The 24-year jail term is to run from the day of their arrest in April last year, shortly after their maid, Mey Sichan, was found dead by paramedics. She weighed just 26kg and had bruises on her body. Police said she died from acute gastritis and ulcers likely caused by lack of food over a long period. The 23-year-old had been working for the family for eight months.
Boy left in school bus dies
A three-year-old boy has died after being left inside a private school bus for several hours in sweltering heat, Thai police said on Wednesday, the second such death of a toddler in recent weeks. Suriyakarn Thakan was found unconscious inside the cab of a pickup truck, which was being used to transport children to a nursery school in Si Sa Ket Province on Tuesday afternoon. It was due to be the child’s second day at nursery. Police said the driver of the pickup has been charged with negligence resulting in the death of another person, while the nursery teacher who owns the vehicle was to be questioned by police yesterday. The death follows that of a three-year-old girl who was left in a school bus for four hours outside Bangkok early last month.