Fraud investigators arrested
A foreign husband-and-wife team of fraud investigators, whose firm did work for British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which is facing a bribery probe, have been formally arrested. Police in Shanghai had arrested Peter Humphrey, a British national, and Yu Yingzeng, a naturalized US citizen, diplomats from the two countries said. Humphrey is the founder of risk advisory firm ChinaWhys, while Yu, a certified fraud examiner, served as general manager. A statement by family members to the Wall Street Journal said the two were suspected of breaking laws related to purchasing personal information. “We only know that Ying and Peter did investigative work on corruption within foreign companies,” the statement said. “As corruption is high on the schedule of China’s government, the incarceration of Ying and Peter seems to be contradictory to China’s policy in itself.”
‘Funny air’ leads to arrests
Two teenagers have discovered laughter is not always the best medicine after they were arrested for selling balloons containing “funny air” — or laughing gas — to tourists. The pair, aged 17 and 19, were charged on Wednesday with trafficking in controlled substances, punishable by a maximum five-year jail term, after allegedly selling balloons containing nitrous oxide in the tourist resort of Pattaya. The gas, known locally as funny air, but more commonly referred to as laughing gas, induces euphoria and laughter when inhaled. It has several legitimate uses, including numbing pain during medical procedures such as dentistry. Nitrous oxide is legally available in many countries, but is controlled in Thailand. “They were charged under medical laws that ban selling or importing nitrous oxide,” police Lieutenant Colonel Passkorn Paikit said, adding that the balloons are commonly sold in the tourist hot spots of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan. “[The balloons] sell for 120 baht [US$3.50] each and its effect can last for five to 10 minutes,” he said.
Flogging sentence scrapped
The High Court has overturned a public flogging sentence for a 15-year-old rape victim whose conviction sparked outrage among rights groups and focused attention on the island nation’s treatment of women. The High Court issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the girl, whose stepfather is on trial for raping her, had been wrongly convicted by a juvenile court of having premarital sex with another man. The government appealed on behalf of the teenager following an international outcry over the February sentence to punish her with 100 lashes when she reached the age of 18.
UN envoy ‘well-protected’
President Thein Sein’s spokesman, Ye Htut, said a UN human rights envoy was well-protected during a visit to a city wracked by religious violence, brushing off his claims that police did nothing as a 200-strong Buddhist mob descended on his car, kicking the windows and doors and shouting abuses. He said yesterday that UN rights rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana was never in any danger. Members of the crowd, he said, approached the convoy only to give Quintana a letter and a T-shirt, “so what Quintana said is very different from the true situation.” Quintana said that on arriving in the central city of Meikhtila to visit a camp for 1,600 displaced Muslims earlier this week, security forces stood by as a Buddhist crowd descended on his convoy.