Pricey painting goes missing
A painting that was auctioned for HK$28.8 million (US$3.7 million) on Monday has gone missing, police said, with media reports yesterday suggesting cleaners may have inadvertently thrown the artwork out. The 2012 painting Snowy Mountain by Chinese artist Cui Ruzhuo (崔如琢) was reported missing by Chinese auctioneers Poly Auction on Tuesday afternoon after the auction on Monday, police said. Ming Pao reported that police had checked CCTV footage at the Grand Hyatt hotel, where the auction took place, which showed cleaners removing the painting. That raised fears that the painting had been sent out with the garbage to the city’s landfill. Gladis Young, director of communications at the Grand Hyatt hotel, said hotel staff were not involved because organizers of events involving valuable items usually hired external staff to deal with security and handling goods.
Berlusconi faces social work
A government agency has asked a court whether former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi can serve a one-year sentence for tax fraud by working in a center for the elderly, judicial sources said on Tuesday. The 77-year-old has dominated politics in Italy for decades, but was expelled from the Senate in November last year after being convicted for tax fraud at his Mediaset television network. A four-year sentence was commuted to one. At a hearing today, judges are due to begin deliberating whether Berlusconi, who denies the tax fraud charge, should serve his time under house arrest or by doing social work. Prison was always unlikely because of the media mogul’s age and the non-violent nature of the crime. According to the proposal by the social services agency deposited with the court, Berlusconi would work just one day a week at the elderly center, judicial sources said.
Police hunt man’s identity
Police on Tuesday put out a public appeal to help identify a central European man who was found in the snow suffering from amnesia, yet understands five languages. The man in his mid-20s was found “helpless in the snow” on an Oslo street in the middle of December last year, a statement said. “The man did not possess any form of identification and did not remember his name, origin, how he ended up in Norway or any other details of his life,” it said. Police said a broad Interpol search to identify the man, who now calls himself John Smith, had so far yielded no results. The man is 1.87m tall, speaks very good English and understands Czech, Slovak, Polish and Russian.
Cop charged over images
A police officer from the squad tasked with guarding the prime minister’s Downing Street residence has been charged with sharing obscene images via his mobile phone, prosecutors said on Tuesday. The Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) controls access to Downing Street and Scotland Yard, the police headquarters in London, and protects government ministers, former prime ministers and visiting heads of state and government. “Following a review of the evidence, we have concluded that James Addison, a police constable in the DPG, should be charged with 11 offenses,” Jenny Hopkins of the Crown Prosecution Service said. It is alleged that between February and June last year, he distributed “moving images via his mobile telephone” of an indecent nature. The maximum punishment for such an offense is a fine, up to three years in jail, or both. Addison is due to appear at in court in London on April 23.