Student charged with sedition
A court yesterday charged a student activist with sedition and three others, including two opposition politicians, were arrested on the same charge in what critics decried as a crackdown on dissent. Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged last year to repeal the Sedition Act, widely seen as oppressive. Critics slammed the fresh arrests under the law, believed to be in connection with calls to protest against alleged fraud during the May 5 election. Adam Adli Halim was charged under the Sedition Act over a statement made at a public post-election forum on May 13, and had been held in custody for five days until yesterday, his lawyer, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, said. After being charged, he was released on bail. The 24-year-old is accused of calling on people to protest against the election results, Fadiah said. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, which carries a penalty of up to three years in jail.
Alleged rapist marries victim
Prosecutors are pursuing rape charges against a 40-year-old man who allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl and then married her. Restaurant manager Riduan Masmud was charged with committing statutory rape in a parked car in Borneo in February, but the man has defended his actions by saying he since married the girl. Riduan is already married to another woman and reportedly has four children.
Fugitive professor detained
A businessman who allegedly killed a man 16 years ago and went on the run, setting up a new life as a university professor, has been held after the victim’s brother found him, reports said yesterday. Ren Yuefeng (任岳峰) was running a restaurant in Yunnan when he had Yang Shunxiang (楊順祥) beaten to death in a dispute over counterfeit cigarette trading, the state-run Global Times said. Ren took on a false name, Ran Gengsheng (冉更升), and moved to Guiyang in Guizhou Province, where he rose to become director of the provincial office of the China Planning Research Institute, reports said. The Global Times said he was “famous among his peers,” adding: “He also worked as a guest professor in several Guizhou universities where his lectures were said to be very popular.”
Four to hang over murders
A court yesterday sentenced a lawyer and three farm workers to death over the gruesome murder of a glamorous cosmetics tycoon and her three associates. The 2010 murder of Sosilawati Lawiya, 47, her driver, lawyer and bank officer shocked the public and dominated the headlines for weeks. The four were reported missing after going to discuss a land deal with the convicted lawyer and his brother on their farm near Tanjung Sepat. A high court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur found the four guilty on Thursday, a court official said. The charge carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging.
Italian arrested over fraud
Authorities have arrested an Italian wanted over alleged links to a human trafficking ring which swindled about US$10 million from European taxpayers and banks, immigration officials said yesterday. Stefano Raccagni, 38, is wanted in Italy on suspicion of being part of a 12-strong Milan-based gang that smuggled people into the country to defraud tax authorities and banks. He was arrested on Tuesday in Chiang Mai, where he had settled with a Thai girlfriend since arriving in the country in 2009, police said.