Thursday, 29 March 2012

Baggage handlers to strike at Easter


Baggage handlers at Stansted Airport are to strike over Easter in a row over pay, the GMB union announced today. The move follows an overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action by 150 GMB members employed by Swissport after the union claimed that shift changes would lead to wage cuts of up to £1,000. The GMB said strikes will be held on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday, threatening disruption to passengers flying on holiday for the holiday break. GMB official Gary Pearce said: "GMB members have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and for action short of a strike. "Up to now the company has been intent on imposing these changes without agreement and this is completely unacceptable, as this vote shows. "GMB has offered several alternative shift patterns and working arrangements but the company refuses to listen so far. "I have notified Swissport of the ballot result and I have asked them for more talks to try to avert action over these pay cuts. "GMB members consider that Swissport is attempting to make savings at their expense and they are not willing to agree to this. "Unless there is urgent talks and a settlement, this vote for action this will result in disruption over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. "The travelling public need to be aware that it has been this aggressive move by Swissport to cut our members pay at a time of high inflation that has led to this strike vote. "If the strike goes ahead, Swissport is entirely to blame for the disruption."

Thursday, 22 March 2012

14-year-old girl who was kidnapped and sent to Thailand is traumatised and unable to speak to the police.

Shah Alam OCPD Asst Comm Zahedi Ayob said the girl was in hospital and responding well to treatment.

"However, she cannot remember much. She only told us that she was abducted in a white van from Section 9," he told reporters at the district police headquarters here yesterday.

The teen was found with five other girls from Myanmar at the Hua Lampong train station in Bangkok on March 11 and arrived back home on Monday.

"We hope the Thai authorities will send the Myanmar citizens here so that we can probe further. We are investigating if these teenagers were also kidnapped the same day that the girl was abducted," ACP Zahedi said.

He refused to confirm if the teen was kidnapped by a child sex trafficking syndicate, but said the case was being investigated under Section 366 of the Penal Code for kidnapping for the purpose of prostitution.

ACP Zahedi said the Myanmar teenagers, aged between 15 and 17, were currently under the custody of UNHCR in Bangkok.

The Form Three girl was abducted on Jan 30 after her mother dropped her off at a bus stop here at around 1pm. When her daughter did not return home, the 37-year-old mother lodged a police report the following day at the Shah Alam police headquarters.

On March 12, the girl called her mother to say that she was in Thailand and had escaped from her captors.

Pattaya Police is hunting a barbaric gang that alledgedly cut off Cambodian children’s tongues and removed their larynxes before forcing them to beg in Pattaya.

A Pattaya Daily News journalist was informed by social & welfare officers who had detained a seven-year-old mutilated Combodian boy (he could not tell his name ), the boy was mutilated, his tongue was cut off and had scars of primitive surgery on his neck. It looked like his larynx had been removed.

This boy was arrested while he was roaming around in Pattaya begging for money.

The officers brought the boy to the childrens welfare center last year. The boy was always tense and paranoid, he could not speak.

The officers from the national center for prevention and suppression of human trafficking came to question him. They told the child to point at the answers written on the paper: “Yes” and “No” in Cambodian.

It was a tragic story. He had been a normal young boy in Cambodia. But when he crossed to Thailand. He was suddenly mute. He pointed to his cut tongue with terrified eyes. On his neck there was a trace of surgery, size of a little finger which made the officer believe that they had removed his larynx.

The boy said that there were more boys of his age, also forced to work as beggers. They were all handicapped, their arms and legs had been cut off.
The gangs alledgedly abducted the children and cut off their tongues, arms, or legs to make them crippled and they would be easy to to control and people wold pity them and give them money.

The police have mobilized their forces to find the gang and arrest them.

Mr. Santi Prompat, the Minister of the Social Development and Human Security went to Hanoi, Vietnam to join the meeting of ministers in the Mekong region. Prevention of human trafficking or the 3rd COMMIT meeting with ministers from Cambodia, China, Burma and Vietnam participating. The meeting was held on February 15-16.

Mr. Prompat presented the story of the Cambodian beggar. A victim of human trafficking. He urged the concerned ministers to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Missing M’sian girl took lift into Thailand from stranger


Thai immigration police investigations have indicated that a 14-year-old Malaysian girl and her five Rohingya friends had taken a lift from a stranger in Malaysia near the Malaysia-Thai border before entering Thailand illegally. The six have since been rescued by the Thai police. Deputy Commander of Immigration Bureau Investigation Centre Pol Col Chartchai Lamsaeng said Wednesday, the six took the ride on a Malaysian-registered van offered by a Malaysian man near the border on March 8. The five Rohingyas comprised four boys and a girl, aged between 14 and 16. The six were friends and know each other. "They were given drinks by the man and fell asleep shortly," Chartchai, who led the investigation into the case, told Bernama here. He said, they could only remember passing through Hat Yai, Petchaburi or Nakhon Phatom and ended up at Hua Lamphong in the capital. "We are surprised how they could pass through the border checkpoint without any travel document," he said, adding it was unclear whether the teenagers intended to enter Thailand when they took the van ride. "The man even took them to a mosque in Hua Lamphong. However, it was not clear what happened to the man after that as the teenagers made their way to the Hua Lamphong Train Station." Chartchai said, some vendors near the railway station gave them money to buy train tickets to return to Malaysia. They were caught by the police at the station as they failed to produce valid travel documents and were sent to an immigration police office here, he added. The immigration police later contacted the Malaysian Embassy here. "Our investigations showed that all six were safe and not harmed or abused by the man," said Chartchai, adding that the immigration police would investigate the case under human trafficking law, which carried a penalty of between five and 10 years imprisonment. "We managed to get a sketch of the suspect based on information given by the teenagers. Thai and Malaysian police are working on this case," he said. He said the Thai authorities were trying to determine if an international crime syndicate was involved in this case. An initial news report from Malaysia stated the girl had told her mother during a telephone conversation on March 12, that she and the rest were abducted and taken into Thailand before they were rescued by the Thai authorities at the railway station on March 11.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

British man, wife killed at Thai resort


POLICE say a British man and his Thai wife have been robbed and beaten to death at a seaside resort south of Bangkok. Police Major General Wichean Tantawiriya says three Thai men - a security guard and chef at the resort and their friend - were arrested today and had confessed to killing the couple and taking a mobile phone and 5000 baht ($155). Wichean says the bodies of Michael Raymond, 68, and Suchada Bowkamdee, 52, were discovered yesterday in their bungalow at the Jack Beach Resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, 350km south of Bangkok. He says they had checked in a day earlier. Wichean says two of the three suspects were addicted to methamphetamine, a stimulant, and needed money to buy drugs.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Mexico Arrests Boss of La Mano con Ojos Gang


Mexican authorities have arrested the La Mano con Ojos (The Hand with Eyes) drug gang’s reputed leader, who confessed to ordering the murders of 10 people. The arrest of Marco Antonio Hernandez Garcia was made near the Villa Olimpica neighborhood of southern Mexico City, the capital’s district attorney, Jesus Rodriguez, told reporters. Hernandez Garcia, alias “El Comandante,” who was detained Thursday along with bodyguard Gustavo Moreno Diaz, confessed to ordering the killings of 10 people “whose bodies were mutilated – some incinerated – and abandoned in different parts of the capital,” Rodriguez said. The victims, all decapitated and found with threatening messages alongside them, were suspected rivals involved in the local drug trade, the DA said. The suspect told authorities that he took over leadership of La Mano con Ojos after the arrest last August of Oscar Oswaldo Garcia Montoya, alias “El Compayito,” who confessed to participating directly in 300 homicides and ordering 600 others. La Mano con Ojos operates mainly in the central state of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City, and is known for using extreme violence against its victims, most of whom have been decapitated. The Mexico City DA’s office will ask a judge to order Hernandez Garcia and Moreno Diaz held in preventive detention for their alleged responsibility in the multiple homicides. Clashes pitting drug cartels against each other and the security forces have claimed more than 50,000 lives in Mexico – according to media tallies – since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon took office and militarized the struggle against the drug gangs.

Free at last: Longest-serving farang at 'Bangkok Hilton' is checking out


Like most prisons, Bang Kwang Central reeks of decay. But the fetidness of the "Bangkok Hilton", as it is known by inmates, is more indicative of the soul of the place than the damp edifices that contain the men. Built in the 1930s to hold 3500, the maximum security prison in Thailand's biggest city now houses about 8000 inmates, who have been sentenced to more than 25 years each, as well as hundreds awaiting the outcome of their pending appeals, or execution. Leg irons provide a means of status identification: new inmates wear theirs for the first three months, whereas those on death row have their shackles permanently welded on. Fates are determined by will or whim -- a royal birthday here, a public holiday there. The stroke of a monarch's pen determines who shall live, die or be released. And in the interim both the panacea for and consequence of not knowing is insanity: the inmate's survival guide. At the time of his arrest for heroin trafficking, South African Alexander (Shani) Krebs was 34 years old. Initially condemned to death, his sentence was commuted to 100 then 40 years. He has not spent a nano-second in a democratic South Africa, having been arrested a day before the elections in 1994. Over the years he earned the tragic reputation of being the longest-serving farang, or foreigner, in Bang Kwang. But on December 5 Thailand's monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, benevolently issued an amnesty of sorts, courtesy of his birthday, to all farangs convicted of drug offences. In Thailand the seventh cycle, or 84th birthday, is a significant milestone for the monarchy and special celebrations are organised for the entire year. For the foreign inmates it means that one-sixth of their sentences has been reduced. For prisoners incarcerated since 1994, like Krebs, it signals an early release. Although most of the 11 convicted South African drug mules in Thailand have been incarcerated for more than 15 years, it is unclear who else will be released with Krebs. And South Africa's department of international relations and co-operation is not providing answers. What is certain, according to his family, is that Krebs will be released on April 22 -- eerily, almost 18 years to the day of his arrest. On Facebook, where a 751-strong support group was established in 2008, Krebs's friends have been relentlessly posting messages of support and daily marking the countdown. "Shani, only 56 days to go ... every day gets brighter. x," writes Sue. "Support our friend in the last steps to victory," says Erwin. There are psychedelic artworks and photo-shopped collages of Krebs on an aeroplane, Krebs giving the thumbs-up, Krebs reunited with his family in Johannesburg. "We wanted Shani to see how much he has been missed and how his loved ones are literally counting the days till he returns," said his sister, Joan Sacks. Since 1994 she has campaigned tirelessly for his release and kept him updated through letters and the occasional five-minute phone calls permitted by the Bang Kwang authorities. Sacks has also set up a website through which prints of his paintings -- Krebs became an accomplished artist during his incarceration -- can be bought. Arrested in Thailand Meeting him in 2009, through a double layer of bars, wire and glass, was akin to staring at the portrait of Dorian Gray. His curly hair had remained youthfully long, his body ripped and his face -- from a distance, at least -- seemed protected from the ravages of age that cleave creases, folds and furrows into the rest of us. He was 49 years old. Krebs wore a crisp white T-shirt and immaculately pressed blue trousers. He had been up most of the night, he said, copiously preparing notes for our first interview. He was charming and cheerful. He refused to divulge details of his incarceration -- the agonising months in solitary confinement, the daily drudge of prison life, the creeping despair that all he might ever do in his life was time. He made no mention of the sweat-soaked bodies crammed into cells measuring six metres by four metres, forced to sleep spoon-like, or the pungency of the open sewerage system, or the cesspool of disease that is Bang Kwang.

INDONESIAN authorities claim an Australian man arrested this week allegedly carrying 1.1kg of hashish inside his body was couriering for an international drug network.


INDONESIAN authorities claim an Australian man arrested this week allegedly carrying 1.1kg of hashish inside his body was couriering for an international drug network. Because the amount exceeds 1kg, Edward Norman Myatt, 54, could face the death penalty if convicted of importing the drug, said I Made Wijaya, chief of Customs at Bali's Ngurah Rai international airport. "We believe he is a courier," Mr Wijaya yesterday told a press conference at which the Ballarat-born suspect was exhibited along with the drugs. "He is covering up information on the network in Indonesia." Speaking later in Denpasar, Gories Mere, chief of the national counter-narcotics agency BNN, said international drug syndicates were supplying illegal drugs into Bali. The trade had been in methamphetamines, Mr Gories said, but now the type of drugs being trafficked was changing. Mr Myatt was taken into custody at the airport on Monday afternoon after arriving from New Delhi via Bangkok. Mr Myatt was under surveillance by 40 officers when the Thai Airways flight landed because his movements had already attracted attention, Mr Wijaya said. Customs officers searched his baggage and clothing at the airport without finding any evidence of drugs, but remained suspicious. Mr Myatt was taken from the airport for a CT scan at a Kuta medical centre, but momentarily escaped the car when stopped in traffic and dived into a swamp near the roadway, Mr Wijaya said. The suspect was quickly caught and the scan later showed "suspicious objects" in his stomach. Mr Wijaya said 71 capsules containing hashish and one with crystal methamphetamines were recovered from Myatt's body over the following four days. The total weight, including packaging, was 1.11kg. The estimated street value of the hashish was Rp661.8 million (about $67,750). Under Section 113 of the Narcotics Law, Mr Wijaya said, "the suspect faces maximum penalty of death" or a prison term between five and 20 years. Mr Myatt, who was carrying Australian and British passports, had an April 4 return ticket to New Delhi. He had visited Bali five times previously. A Customs source said later that Mr Myatt was thought to have been working in Britain recently, but he had changed details of his story several times during questioning. Eleven of the 12 Australians now imprisoned at Bali's Kerobokan jail are serving lengthy terms for drug trafficking. They include Gold Coast woman Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine heroin smuggling convicts. Two of the Bali Nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, have been sentenced to death and their last resort is an appeal for presidential clemency to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Sydney man Michael Sacatides was arrested at Ngurah Rai on October 1, 2010, with 1.7kg of methamphetamines concealed in his luggage. Sacatides was last year sentenced to 18 years' jail.

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