Guangzhou ending ‘laojiao’
Guangzhou will empty its hard labor camps by the end of the year, state-run media said yesterday, as some localities phase out the unpopular punishment. Critics say “re-education through labor,” known as laojiao (勞教) and which lets police issue sentences of up to four years without a trial, is open to abuse. “All [100 or so] detainees in Guangzhou labor camps will have completed their sentences and be released by the end of the year,” the China Daily reported, citing a senior judge in the city. Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province, which stopped taking new re-education through labor cases in March, it added. Four cities designated as testing grounds have replaced the system with an “illegal behaviour rectification through education” program, media said earlier this year.
Obese man not deported
An overweight South African threatened with deportation because of his obesity was yesterday granted a 23-month reprieve. However, Albert Buitenhuis will not be entitled to any publicly funded healthcare over the next two years, Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye said. Buitenhuis — who weighs 130kg — appealed to the minister two months ago when his work visa renewal application was rejected because of the demands his obesity could place on the health system. When Buitenhuis and his wife moved to Christchurch six years ago, Albert topped 160kg and, until this year, his visa was renewed without any problem.
Prosecutor quits tribunal
A top prosecutor at the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has announced that he will resign from his job next week. UN-appointed co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley said in a statement yesterday that he is resigning from the financially troubled court for personal reasons. About 140 local employees at the court have been striking to demand salaries that have not been paid for months. Cayley’s statement said he hopes the court can resolve its financial issues so the trial can proceed. A tribunal spokesman said Cayley’s departure was not expected to cause any disruptions and a temporary replacement was expected next month. The tribunal is tasked with seeking justice for atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s, when an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died.
Russian diplomat shot dead
A Russian diplomat was shot dead yesterday by an unknown assailant in the capital of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, Russian state-run media said. Dmitry Vishernev, the first secretary in the consular section of the Russian embassy in Sukhumi, was shot in the head in the garage of his home at about 8:30am, state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing an unnamed representative of the Sukhumi Police Department.
Man captures lion in street
A passerby lured a runaway lion roaming in the upmarket Bayan District into his car and then called the police for help. Pictures in local media showed the animal glaring out of the back of a police car after it had been transferred from the passerby’s vehicle. The lion, which police said was a young adult, filled the back seat. “[The passerby] sat inside the car with the lion and then it became dangerous so the citizen called police who came and took it from that car to their car,” a police source said. Police are seeking the cat’s owner, believed to be someone who had it illegally as a pet.