Rabu, 15 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

China farmers build wall of cash with $2.2 mn payout

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 03:06 AM PST

BEIJING (AFP) - Farmers in one of the poorest counties in a Chinese province built a wall of cash from more than $2 million paid out in year-end bonuses, a report said Wednesday.

The farmers, members of a co-operative in Liangshan county in the southwestern province of Sichuan, stacked bundles of 100-yuan banknotes into a wall two metres (seven feet) long and half a metre high before handing out the dividends, the semi-official China News Service reported.

The co-operative - which runs vegetable fields, fruit farms and an investment arm - paid out more than 13.1 million yuan ($2.2 million) to about 340 families, said the agency.

The cash was brought to the farmers in Jianshe by militiamen in camouflage uniform and stored in the village office under the close watch of seven guards, with three people sleeping on top of it at night.

"We used eight million yuan as a mattress and 4.2 million yuan for pillows," said Jin Hongzhong, one of the guards, adding they were so nervous that they stayed awake all night.

"It was not comfortable sleeping on top of so much money," he said. "It was too hard."

Residents of the village contribute to the co-operative in land, cash or other means, and their payouts are proportionate to their input.

It was not immediately clear whether the dividend was unusually high for the organisation but official figures show that China's rural residents' average net income stood at 7,917 yuan in 2012.

The highest shares in Jianshe were around 300,000 yuan, about 38 times as much, the report said.

One of them went to the family of Jin Ou, who was quoted as saying: "I've been counting for so long and my hands are sore, but still I'm not sure whether the number of notes is correct."

Church funds used in 2001 for 'MTV'

Posted: 14 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

City Harvest Church funds were already used as early as in 2001 to fund the secular pop music career of founder Kong Hee's wife Ho Yeow Sun, court documents showed.

An item in the church's 2001 audit indicated "cost of production – MTV". That audit was managed by Baker Tilly's Tiang Yii, who continued on the stand for a second day as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial against Kong and five others for varying counts of criminal breach of trust and falsifying accounts.

Tiang was later the engagement partner for the church from January 2006 to June 2007, and for music production firm Xtron from January to December 2007.

Defence counsel Andre Maniam, who represents former church finance manager Serina Wee, argued that Tiang's awareness of such investments meant it would not come as a surprise to her when told by Wee that the church had invested monies from their Building Fund in S$13mil (RM33.4mil) bond purchases in Xtron in 2007 and 2008.

However, in a heated cross-examination earlier by defence counsel N. Sreenivasan, who represents the church's deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng, Tiang insisted that she had not raised any warnings or red flags because Wee had only told her "verbally", without any corresponding documentation for the church's 2008 financial year audit.

"We didn't have the information at the time; it was all preliminary information gathering," Tiang said.

"The agreement that we saw for Xtron's side did not say where the source of the City Harvest Church funds were from ... That's only verbal representation (for) which we have to seek corroborative evidence."

Sreenivasan countered: "So if somebody tells you that S$1mil (RM2.57mil) has been stolen, as auditor you will wait for corroborative evidence before you do anything?" — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Accused the first to receive probation for paid sex with minor

Posted: 14 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

A 22-year-old man who had paid sex with a 17-year-old girl from China was given 18 months' probation. Yap Jun Hao is the first accused to get probation for such an offence, but the prosecution said this should not set a precedent for future cases.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said that given the nature and gravity of the offence, the prosecution's position has been and continues to be that a jail sentence is warranted if an accused engages in commercial sex with a minor.

Yap was doing his full-time national service when he paid S$60 (RM154) for the sexual services of the native from Shandong, China, at a lodging house in Geylang in May 2013.

The court heard that Yap, who would visit Geylang for prostitutes whenever he felt lonely, was approached by the minor in Lorong 22 Geylang on a day between May 18 and 20 last year.

The Chinese national offered him paid sexual services for S$60 and they proceeded to the lodging house.

He asked for her age and she replied that she was 19 years old, but he did not take any steps to verify this.

Asked by District Judge Low Wee Ping if she had any objection to probation being made, Sharmila said that in view of the "exceptional circumstances" – namely Yap's young age at the time of the offence, findings of the Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist, and a favourable probation report – she was not.

She confirmed that no other person charged with similar offences had been granted probation in the past.

District Judge Low noted that Yap suffered post-traumatic disorder following the suicide of his elder brother, to whom he was close.

Yap will continue to undergo psychiatric and psychological follow-ups at IMH. His parents each signed a S$2,000 (RM5,152) bond to ensure his good behaviour.

The maximum penalty for the offence is seven years' jail and a fine. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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