Khamis, 12 Disember 2013

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

KCNA: North Korea leader's 'traitor' uncle executed


SEOUL (South Korea) (AFP) - North Korea has executed the uncle of its leader Kim Jong-un after a shock purge, state news agency KCNA announced early Friday, branding the once-powerful Jang Song-thaek a "traitor for all ages". 

Jang was executed on Thursday shortly after a special military trial, KCNA reported, after committing such a "hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state". 

"The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system." 

In a viciously-worded attack, the regime accused Jang of betraying the trust of both Kim Jong-un and his father Kim Jong-il, saying he had received "deeper trust" from the younger leader in particular. 

Branding Jang "despicable human scum... worse than a dog", the regime accused him of attempting to stand in the way of Kim Jong-un's succession, according to KCNA. 

Jang let in "undesirable and alien elements" to a department of the party's crucial Central Committee in a bid to "rally a group of reactionaries to be used by him for toppling the leadership of the party and state", it said. 

Analysts said a widespread purge was likely to be carried out against those associated with Jang, especially those at the Central Committee's administrative department he had headed. 

During the court hearing, Jang said he attempted to stage a coup d'etat by mobilising his associates in the military, according to KCNA. 

"I attempted to stir up complaints among the people and the military that even as the country's economic situation and people's livelihood are in dire situation, the current regime fails to deal with it," Jang was quoted as saying at the military court. 

"He revealed his true picture as a traitor of all ages, saying that the coup was aimed at the supreme leader" Kim Jong-un, KCNA said. 

The court found him guilty of attempting to overthrow the state in breach of the Criminal Law and handed out a death sentence to punish him sternly "in the name of revolution and the people". 

"The death sentence was executed immediately," KCNA said. 

Jang, who was married to the sister of the late Kim Jong-il, played a key role in cementing the leadership of the inexperienced Kim. 

But analysts say the 67-year-old's power and influence had become increasingly resented by his nephew, who is aged around 30. 

Jang - seen as Kim's political regent and the country's unofficial number two - had earlier been stripped of all posts and titles, with the regime accusing him of corruption and building a rival power base. 

State TV this week showed photos of him being dragged out of his seat at a meeting by two officers, in an extremely rare public humiliation of a figure who was then demonised as a drug-taking womaniser. 

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday accused Kim Jong-un of resorting to extreme violence to cement his leadership. 

"North Korea is now engaged in a reign of terror while carrying out a massive purge to consolidate the power of Kim Jong-un," she told a cabinet meeting, according to her office. 

The Kim family has ruled the North for six decades with an iron fist, regularly purging those showing the slightest sign of dissent. Most are executed or sent to prison camps. 

Analysts warn Jang's ouster - the biggest political upheaval since Jong-un took power - may cause significant instability even in the world's most tightly controlled nation.

Measures to ensure order and safety in the works


THE government will look into measures to ensure order and safety in Little India after last Sunday's riot, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an interview in Seoul, where he is on an official visit.

This will include looking at how the transport flow can be made safer, he said.

"Serangoon Road is crowded every weekend and we want to make sure that everything is orderly and safe next weekend and thereafter.

"We've decided this weekend, no alcohol, and thereafter we'll work out some interim arrangements ... until such time as we can come to firmer conclusions and make some more permanent arrangements," he said.

Lee also said the investigations into the incident, which involved some 400 foreign workers throwing objects at police and attacking vehicles, are carrying on well.

The government has to deal with the matter firmly and make clear rioting is unacceptable, but "we have to be fair to the persons who are not involved, even the persons who are involved, there has to be a due process of law", he added.

Though understandably shocked, Singaporeans have reacted calmly to the riot, and yesterday, Lee called for continued restraint.

"Whether online or anywhere else we have to exercise some restraint.

"The anxiety and the alarm is quite understandable but if we express ourselves in unrestrained, unreserved terms and sometimes xenophobic terms even, on the internet you've seen quite a lot of those, I don't think that is helpful," he said.

Lee said the government hopes to announce "within a day or two" more details on the Committee of Inquiry set up to look into the incident, including the names of the committee members and the terms of reference.

Meanwhile, four Indian nationals were charged in court yesterday for their involvement in the riot.

Three are accused of throwing pieces of hardened concrete at the police officers responding to the melee along Race Course Road.

The fourth man is accused of being a member of an unlawful assembly and attacking – with a dustbin, wooden stick, hardened concrete, bottles and a metal drain cover – the private bus, which was previously reported to have run over and killed an Indian national at the junction of Tekka Lane and Race Course Road.

The fourth man is also accused of overturning and later setting on fire a police vehicle during the chaos.

This now brings the total number of accused persons facing charges for Sunday's incident in Little India to 31.

This after the first group of 27 were hauled up to court over Tuesday and Wednesday. They have been remanded for further investigations and will return to court on Dec 19.

Police have also installed additonal closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the vicinity of Race Course Road and Buffalo Road, where Sunday's riot occured. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Man weds minor but still goes to jail


In what is believed to be the first case of its kind here, a Singaporean man was jailed for having sex with an underage girl who is now his wife.

District Judge Mathew Joseph said yesterday that the case was "unusual".

He said it was the first case of underage sex he has heard where the victim and accused are now a married couple.

While the judge said he was prepared to consider the case differently, he said the court did not condone the accused for having sex with the minor – who was then 15 – as the couple were not married at the time of the offence.

The accused, a 32-year-old computer technician, married the Singaporean girl in Indonesia a year ago when she was 16.

His wife, now 17, was in court together with his six-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

The judge added that he hoped the accused would put the past behind him for the sake of his wife – who is now seven months pregnant – and their unborn child.

The sex offences came to light when the accused was probed by the police for a forgery offence.

For having sex with the minor, the accused was sentenced to six months in jail.

Together with the sex offences, the accused pleaded guilty to 15 charges last month – mostly for cheating – and was sentenced to a total of 18 months behind bars.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Victor Lim told the court last month that the victim befriended the accused some time between 2008 and 2009 while playing an online game.

She was then around 12 or 13.

The two entered into a relationship in December 2011.

In the same month, the accused told the victim that he wanted to have sex with her. After she agreed, he drove her to a hotel in Geylang.

Their next sexual encounter took place early last year, when she was living with the accused at his Sembawang flat.

Soon after that, the victim discovered that she was pregnant. The accused, who was then divorced, made plans to marry her.

For one of the forgery offences, the court heard that the accused had faked a letter purportedly from the Institute of Mental Health in March, after his girlfriend told him that she wanted to quit her studies at a secondary school. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network


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