Selasa, 28 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Singapore ex-gangster jailed 20 years for torching former lover

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 11:48 PM PST

SINGAPORE: An ex-gangster has been jailed for 20 years in Singapore for burning his former lover to death, in a case the judge said was one of the worst of its kind in the city-state.

Lim Ghim Peow, 45, was given the lengthy prison term on Monday after he pleaded guilty to setting his former lover ablaze.

"The accused in this case had torched a living human being immediately after dousing her with flammable petrol," Judicial Commissioner Tan Siong Thye said in a written judgement sent to AFP on Tuesday.

"She was set ablaze screaming as a result of the excruciating pain from the burns."

Mary Yoong Mei Ling 43, died within hours after she sustained burns on 75 percent of her body in the incident on May 25, 2012.

Lim was tried on the lesser charge of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" rather than murder, because a mental health check found he suffered from a "major depressive disorder".

The maximum penalty for this is life imprisonment or a jail term of 20 years, as well as a fine and caning.

The judge said "this would have been a clear case of murder if it had not been for his major depressive disorder."

Lim had been in a three-year relationship with Yoong, but this ended in 2011 after he physically abused her.

According to court documents, Lim had staked out Yoong's home from the early hours that same day in May 2012.

He then confronted her when she left her apartment in the morning, and demanded that she reconcile with him.

When she refused and asked him to leave, he doused her with a bottle of petrol and used a lighter to set her on fire.

The judge described it as a "very cruel and vicious attack" and "one of the worst cases" of its kind the High Court had seen.

He also noted that Lim had carefully planned the assault. He also had a "latent violent disposition" as well as a history of being involved in local criminal gangs.

"Therefore, considering the heinousness of the (crime) and the need to prevent further acts of violence, a very long sentence of imprisonment is warranted despite the accused's major depressive disorder," the judge said.

Singapore, a regional financial centre and one of Asia's richest and safest cities, takes a tough stand against crime.

The city-state's crime rate of 581 per 100,000 people in 2012 was the lowest in two decades. -AFP

Thailand to proceed with troubled election

Posted: 28 Jan 2014 02:36 AM PST

BANGKOK: Thailand's government vowed Tuesday to push ahead with controversial elections this weekend, despite threats by opposition protesters to disrupt the polls in an attempt to stop the ruling party returning to power.

The announcement came after talks between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and election officials who urged a delay following street violence in which at least 10 people have been killed and hundreds injured in grenade attacks, drive-by shootings and clashes.

In the latest incident, shots were fired Tuesday near the Bangkok army base where Yingluck was holding meetings, as hundreds of protesters massed outside.

Emergency services said two people were injured although the exact circumstances were not immediately clear.

The Thai capital has been shaken by nearly three months of mass street demonstrations, demanding Yingluck's elected government step down to make way for an unelected "people's council" that would oversee reforms aimed at curbing the dominance of her billionaire family.

The Election Commission proposed during Tuesday's talks to postpone the election for 120 days, but after discussions it agreed with the government to press ahead with the February 2 vote, deputy government spokesman Chalitrat Chantarubeksa told reporters.

The main opposition Democrat Party is boycotting Sunday's polls, saying reforms are needed to ensure the vote is truly democratic and to prevent abuse of power by the next government.

Protesters threaten to 'close every route'

Advance voting over the weekend was marred by widespread disruption by opposition protesters who besieged polling stations and stopped hundreds of thousands from casting ballots.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has threatened to "close every route" to polling stations again for the main election, raising fears of further violence.

An anti-government rally leader was shot dead on Sunday while giving a speech from the back of a pickup truck in a Bangkok suburb, during the campaign by demonstrators to block advance voting.

In another apparently politically related killing, the body of a man wearing a wristband popular among protesters was found Tuesday near a rally site with several bullet wounds, according to police, although the circumstances of his death were unclear.

"He could be a protester or someone who infiltrated the demonstrators," said Police Colonel Charoen Srisasalak.

Yingluck's meeting with the election authorities came after the Constitutional Court last Friday ruled that the polls could legally be pushed back because of the civil strife.

The government notes that under the constitution an election should normally be held no more than 60 days after the dissolution of parliament, which happened in early December.

The opposition argues that an election without reforms will not resolve the long-running political conflict.

The kingdom has been bitterly divided since Yingluck's older brother, the then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown by royalist generals in a coup more than seven years ago.

Critics accuse the billionaire tycoon-turned-politician of controlling his sister's government from Dubai, where he lives to avoid prison for a corruption conviction.

The protesters have staged a self-styled "shutdown" of Bangkok since January 13, occupying several main intersections, although attendance has gradually dwindled and disruption has been limited.

The government has declared a 60-day state of emergency in the capital and surrounding areas, giving authorities the power to ban public gatherings of more than five people, although they have not yet done so and demonstrators have vowed to defy the decree. -AFP

Five dead, 14 missing in Indonesian landslide

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 11:52 PM PST

JAKARTA: A landslide triggered by days of rain buried a village on Indonesia's main island of Java on Tuesday, leaving at last five people dead and another 14 missing, an official said.

The landslide happened in mountainous Jombang district in eastern Java at 1:30 am (1830 GMT Monday) after a particularly heavy downpour, said local disaster agency official Putra Anugerah.

"We pulled five bodies from the rubble this morning and are still searching for the other 14. Sixty people have also been displaced," Anugerah told AFP.

Five homes were completely crushed by the landslide and members of the rescue agency, army personnel and community members were helping search for the missing, officials said.

Indonesia has been pounded with rain in recent weeks, the start of the country's months-long wet season, causing widespread flooding and landslides across the vast archipelago.

Environmentalists blame logging and a failure to reforest denuded land for exacerbating the floods and causing landslides, which hit Java's mountainous regions every wet season. -AFP


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