Alleged killer cop repatriated
Malaysian authorities yesterday repatriated a fugitive Singaporean police officer suspected of a gruesome double murder that has shocked the city-state, officials confirmed. Car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin, 67, was found dead in his home on Wednesday while his 42-year-old son’s body was found a kilometer away after being dragged under a car owned by the elderly victim, leaving a trail of blood on the road. A Singapore Police Force spokesman told reporters that the suspect, Senior Staff Sergeant Iskandar Rahmat, 34, was arrested by Malaysian police on Friday night. The spokesman said police were investigating the link between the victims and Iskandar, but added that the police officer had attended to a theft complaint filed by the elder Tan in November last year. Iskandar was subsequently reassigned to another position.
Meth found hidden in tea
Authorities seized nearly 50kg of methamphetamine disguised as Chinese tea at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), police said. Anti-narcotics agents arrested two ethnic Chinese Malaysians at the airport on Wednesday and later intercepted 12.7kg of the drug, police said in a statement late on Friday. “Police found a bag left in front of a shop in KLIA that contained 12 plastic packages labeled ‘Guanyingwang Refined Chinese Team,’” police said. They added that two pieces of unclaimed luggage were seized the next day that contained 34.5kg more of the drug, similarly labeled. The total value of the seizure was put at about US$2.7 million. The two men, aged 36 and 66, were still being held by police. Reports quoted Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim as saying the drugs came from Myanmar.
Painter’s wife hid assets
The wife of late painter Ikuo Hirayama concealed about US$3 million worth of her husband’s assets to avoid a hefty tax bill, reports said yesterday. Hirayama, a UNESCO goodwill ambassador who campaigned for the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage, died in 2009, leaving assets worth more than ￥1 billion (US$10 million), mostly in the form of artwork, newspapers said. Most of the assets were donated as non-taxable items to a museum named after him, but his 87-year-old wife failed to report about ￥200 million in cash kept at her home, the Yomiuri and the Asahi newspapers said, citing unnamed sources. She also reported the value of copyrights inherited from her husband at about ￥100 million less than the real amount, the reports said. She was forced to pay ￥150 million in back taxes and penalties, the reports said.
Sam Rainsy sets return date
Self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday said he will return to his homeland on Friday, less than two weeks before his beleaguered Cambodian National Rescue Party challenges Prime Minister Hun Sen in national polls. Sam Rainsy announced the date of his intended return on his Facebook page a day after Hun Sen engineered a pardon for his most prominent rival. The pardon cleared the way for Sam Rainsy to return to campaign for his party without facing immediate arrest and imprisonment. It came after the US and others had said the exclusion of Sam Rainsy from the July 28 vote would call into question the polls’ legitimacy. His return is not likely to greatly affect the big picture at the polls, where Hun Sen appears assured of extending his 28-year rule.
Volcanic ash shuts airport
An airport serving the country’s fourth-largest city suspended operations for seven hours because of volcanic ash from the Popocatepetl volcano. The international airport in Puebla was temporarily closed as a precautionary measure, Puebla airport spokesman Herbert Lopez Palma said. Palma said the airport reopened after the ash stopped falling and the airstrips were cleaned up. The temporary closure affected six domestic and international flights to Houston and Dallas, Texas. The airport is east of Mexico City and about 30km from the 5,450m volcano. At the Mexico City airport, Alaska Airlines on Friday canceled its daily flight to and from Los Angeles. Authorities said this week that a lava dome is growing inside the crater and could cause further eruptions.
Tomato shortage angers
The government asked consumers on Friday to try to stay away from the beloved food for at least two months because of an expected shortage caused by seasonal reasons, including crop rotations. Officials say all other fruits and vegetables are available. However, people are frustrated because the tomato is a must in many of their dishes and is often used in pizza toppings, sauces and salads. Consumers also have been recently hit by a flour shortage after the worst wheat harvest in the country’s history sent bread prices soaring.
Man, 73, dies scuba diving
A 73-year-old US tourist has died while on a scuba diving trip. Police spokeswoman Janet Dougall says the man died on Wednesday after losing consciousness while ascending along an underwater cliff. She said the man was given CPR and transported to shore, but declared dead at a clinic. Dougall said the man was vacationing with his wife in Little Cayman. She said police are not yet releasing his name or hometown.
Bail posted for princess
Authorities say the consulate of Saudi Arabia posted the US$5 million bail of a Saudi princess charged with human trafficking. Princess Meshael Alayban was released from custody on Thursday. Orange County Sheriff Department Lieutenant Jeff Hallock said on Friday that the consulate delivered a US$5 million check to the department, and the funds were verified. The 42-year-old Alayban was arrested on Wednesday on a charge of human trafficking for allegedly holding a Kenyan maid against her will and forcing her to work long hours for meager pay. Efforts to reach the press office for the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington were not immediately successful.
‘El Loco’ pleads not guilty
A man known in Colombia as “El Loco” has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges in a case accusing him of trafficking hundreds of tonnes of cocaine. Daniel Barrera Barrera entered the plea on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. He had pleaded not guilty to related narcotics charges on Wednesday in his first court appearance in Manhattan. Prosecutors have described the 44-year-old Barrera as one of the largest cocaine distributors in history. Authorities say Barrera laundered tens of millions of dollars of profits as he processed about 30 tonnes of raw cocaine into cocaine powder each month since 1998. They also allege he funneled drug proceeds to rebel forces in Colombia. Barrera’s attorney declined comment outside of court.