Rape suspect hunted
A massive manhunt was under way yesterday with 4,000 police officers, 850 vehicles, sniffer dogs, helicopters and boats scouring the city of Kawasaki for an escaped rape suspect, reports said. Yuta Sugimoto, 20, was meeting his lawyer on Tuesday at the prosecutors’ office over claims he was part of a gang that raped and robbed a woman on Thursday last week. He apparently loosened his waist rope after requesting a toilet break, a Kanagawa prefectural police official said on condition of anonymity due to departmental rules. The suspect tore himself away from police officers and escaped.
Election date set
The presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly has decided the parliamentary election — held every five years — will take place on March 9, the official KCNA news agency said yesterday. The last parliamentary vote — a highly staged process with only one approved candidate standing for each of the 687 districts — was held in 2009. The announcement of the vote coincided with Kim’s birthday yesterday. His age is a matter of speculation due to confusion about the year of his birth. The rubber-stamp parliament is usually called into session twice a year for a day or two to pass government budgets and approve personnel changes.
Train fire kills nine
A fire on an overnight train killed at least nine people yesterday with sleeping victims overcome by flames and smoke as the blaze ripped through three carriages, Western Railway spokesman Sharat Chandrayan said. The blaze broke out about 2:30am, shortly after the train left Mumbai for the northern city of Dehradun, he said. Many passengers managed to escape from the blazing and smoke-filled coaches by breaking open the back doors, a survivor, Mehul, told news channel CNN-IBN, but he said others died of suffocation.
Pop star mourns family
The leader of popular boy band Super Junior yesterday bid farewell to his father and grandparents, who died in a suspected murder-suicide on Monday. TV footage showed LeeTeuk, dressed in a black suit and tie, crying when other Super Junior members moved a coffin to a black limousine at a Seoul hospital before leaving for a crematorium. Media reports say LeeTeuk’s grandparents were found dead in bed while his father was hanging by a robe around his neck at their home. Media reports cited police officers as saying the father left a suicide note suggesting he committed suicide after strangling his parents.
Samaritan kills himself
A man who aided a senior citizen only to be accused of knocking him down has committed suicide in the face of demands for compensation, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday. Wu Weiqing, 46, from Dongyuan, Guangdong Province, was riding his motorbike on New Year’s Eve when he came across an elderly man who appeared to have been knocked over, Wu’s widow told the newspaper. Wu helped the man up and drove him to a clinic, where he paid 3,500 yuan (US$580) in fees for him, she said. Daughter Wu Haiyan told the Guangzhou Daily that two days later her father told relatives that the old man’s family was demanding a huge sum for “medical fees … he thought it better to die to prove his innocence rather than drag his family down.” The elderly man’s family denied they had requested huge sums.