Rape suspect caught on TV
A massive manhunt that saw thousands of police flood the streets ended on live television yesterday with the capture of an escaped rape suspect. Footage shot from a helicopter showed dozens of officers surrounding a man believed to be Yuta Sugimoto, 20, who slipped away from a prosecutor’s office on Tuesday during a break in questioning over the gang rape and robbery of a woman in Kawasaki on Jan. 2. Public broadcaster NHK aired an unusually long live broadcast of the capture, which showed a man being led along by dozens of officers and pushed into a police car in the nearby city of Yokohama.
Lion found hanging in zoo
A young African lion has died after getting its head caught in cables in its cage at Surabaya Zoo, it was announced yesterday. The 18-month-old lion, named Michael, was found early on Tuesday at the zoo in the east of Java, zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat said. “The lion was found hanging from the roof of his cage. He was very young and got his head stuck in cables that keepers use to open and close the cage,” Supangkat told reporters. Supangkat insisted that the death was an accident and not due to negligence. Police were investigating, he added.
Zhang fined for ‘illegal’ kids
The government yesterday fined acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) 7.5 million yuan (US$1.24 million) for having three children, in violation of the nation’s strict one-child policy. The family planning agency in Wuxi, where Zhang’s wife, Chen Ting (陳婷), is from, told Zhang last month he would be fined, but did not say how much. Online reports surfaced last year that Zhang had at least seven children and could face a 160 million yuan fine, Xinhua news agency said. In a statement posted on the microblog account of the Binhu District Government in Wuxi, the family planning authorities said they would give Zhang 30 days to pay up. They said their calculation of the fine was based on the combined income of Zhang and Chen, which totaled 3.6 million yuan over the three years in which his children were born.
Officials fired over stampede
Four officials have been dismissed over a stampede at the Beida mosque in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region that left 14 people dead, official media said yesterday. Sunday’s incident was blamed on poor control of the crowd of Muslims who had flocked to the mosque for special flatbread being distributed to commemorate a revered local religious figure. The mosque’s administrator has already been detained on suspicion of criminal negligence. Those sacked include Xiji County’s head, director of religious affairs, deputy police chief and a township head, Xinhua news agency said.
Toxic food probe widens
A probe into pesticide-laced frozen food has widened, as the number of people who have fallen sick reportedly topped 1,400, reports said yesterday. Minister for Consumer Affairs Masako Mori has condemned the manufacturer of the tainted items, Aqlifoods, saying it was slow to bring the matter to public attention. The company received the first complaints on Nov. 13 last year, but did not announce a recall until Dec. 29, after tests found traces of a chemical called malathion, which is used as a pesticide and to treat head lice. Investigators suspect the toxin might have been added deliberately during production, according to local press.