Taxi driver exonerated
A taxi driver who endured a six-month lawsuit after overcharging a passenger by US$0.06 has finally had his name cleared by a Hong Kong court. Tam Hoi-chi (譚開志) walked free after his case was thrown out on Thursday but was left questioning the city’s justice system. “I want to know why the opposite side, for the reason of this small amount, would want to sue me,” Tam, 57, told reporters outside the court afterward. He stood accused of “taxi overcharge” according to the Hong Kong judiciary’s Web site. The case was brought to court even though rounding up to the nearest dollar is a common practice amongst the city’s taxi drivers. Tam had overcharged a female passenger HK$0.50 (US$0.06) on a HK$136.5 fare, local newspaper the South China Morning Post reported. She had handed over HK$200 at the end of the journey in October last year and received HK$63 in change, but did not immediately ask for the 50 cents. She later made a complaint to the police, the Post said.
Man held over bomb hoaxes
A man has been arrested for allegedly making fake bomb threats against several domestic flights bound for Shanghai, Chinese officials said yesterday. It was the second time in a week that Chinese flights were grounded because of fake bomb threats. Another man was arrested on Thursday for allegedly making such calls the previous day. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said a 43-year-old man surnamed Ji (季) from the eastern city of Yancheng was arrested on suspicion of making prank calls on Friday afternoon and spreading fake terror information relating to several Shanghai-bound flights. It did not say what might have motivated the man to act. Yancheng police confirmed the arrest but did not to give details. The aviation administration said that spreading fake terror information is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Octogenarian tackles Everest
An 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer has begun his ascent of Mount Everest, his Web site said, in a bid to become the oldest man to reach the roof of the world. In a voice message recorded on his Web site, Yuichiro Miura said the expedition was setting off on Thursday for a climb that was expected to take a little more than a week. Miura is trying to get back a Guinness World Record that he first held in 2003 when he became the oldest man to climb Everest. The title is currently held by Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan, who set foot on the 8,848m summit in May 2008 when he was 76. Veteran adventurer Miura came to worldwide attention in 1970 when he became the first person to ski down Everest. His parachute-aided descent was documented in the 1975 film The Man Who Skied Down Everest.
Eight killed in violence
Eight people, including a police officer, his wife and two children, were killed near Baghdad yesterday while gunmen kidnapped 10 security force personnel, officials said. Gunmen broke into the home of the administrator for the Rashid area, south of Baghdad, killing one of his guards, an Iraqi Ministry of the Interior official said. They then moved to the nearby house of Iraqi Captain Adnan al-Obaidi, a police officer in an anti-terrorism unit, and killed him, his wife and their two children, the official said. A medical official confirmed the toll. Gunmen also shot dead the Imam of a Sunni mosque near the city of Basra, police and a Sunni endowment officials said.