Cabbie arrested for murder
Police yesterday said they have arrested a Bangkok taxi driver accused of stabbing US man to death in an argument over a 51 baht (US$1.60) fare. The 32-year-old driver reportedly confessed that he pulled a machete from his trunk and repeatedly slashed Troy Lee Pilkington, who allegedly refused to pay the fare. Surveillance camera footage captured part of the altercation on Sukhumvit Road on Saturday. The suspect, Chidchai Utmacha, told investigators that Pilkington accused him of rigging the taxi’s meter and then stormed out of the cab while they sat in traffic. He claimed Pilkington threw a cup of coffee at him when he asked for the money, after which he pulled the knife from his trunk and chased after him. Police identified the driver from the video footage.
Hotel collapse kills 12
A two-story hotel collapsed yesterday morning in a suburb of the city of Hyderabad, killing at least 12 people and injuring 16 others. Police say more people are feared trapped in the debris of the City Light hotel, while 20 people have been rescued from the building. About 25 people were working at the hotel, located on a busy road in Secunderabad, when a kitchen wall gave way, triggering a larger collapse and burying staff under debris, a local police official said. It was unclear how many people were still trapped.
Elderly shoplifters rising
The number of elderly people caught shoplifting in Tokyo has outstripped that of teenagers for the first time, the Mainichi Shimbun reported yesterday. A quarter of the people charged with shoplifting in Tokyo last year were at least 65. “Even though the total number of arrests for shoplifting has been declining, the ratio of elderly people are on the rise,” a police spokesman said. “Our survey shows that elderly shoplifters tend to be lonely, having no one to talk to and having no hobby to enjoy.”
More troops for Golan
The government yesterday announced it will send 380 more troops to join a UN peacekeeping force in the Golan Heights, raising its contribution to 562. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the additional soldiers would leave for the tense border between Syria and Israel in the next few weeks, the Fiji Sun reported. The move comes after several countries withdrew from the peacekeeping force due to escalating violence stemming from the Syrian conflict.
Two sentenced for rioting
A district court in Meiktila has sentenced two Buddhist men to seven years in prison for murders during religious violence in March that left at least 44 people dead. A local official said the men were convicted after separate trials for their part in deadly rioting in the town, which mainly targeted Muslims. One man, aged 24, was sentenced on June 28, becoming the first Buddhist known to be sentenced for a serious offence over the rioting. The second suspect, aged 21, was sentenced on Friday.
One held over blasts
Investigators have detained one man and prepared sketches of two others as they investigate a series of blasts on Sunday at some of Buddhism’s holiest sites in Bodhgaya. Two people were wounded in the eight blasts. A senior police officer yesterday said police had detained a man whose identification documents had been found at one of the sites.
Heinz Kerry hospitalized