Asia Briefs: Boat sinking: Owner claims trial

Boat sinking: Owner claims trial

KOTA KINABALU • The owner of a catamaran that sank in waters off Sabah has claimed trial to a charge of ferrying people on water transportation in unsafe conditions.

Leong Vin Jee, 44, pleaded not guilty on Sunday at a magistrate's court and was released on RM5,000 (S$1,600) bail yesterday. Case management has been set for Feb 28.

The catamaran sank on Jan 28 with 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists, on board. Three people died and six, including five Chinese nationals, are still missing.


Philippine communist leader held

MANILA • Philippine soldiers have arrested a communist rebel leader, days after President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped a ceasefire with the insurgents and as clashes between them and the army erupted in several places.

Ariel Arbitrario, who was among dozens of guerillas freed last year when the government and the rebels resumed peace talks, was intercepted yesterday at an army checkpoint in Davao City, in the southern Philippines, a military spokesman said.

"He was taken in based on President Duterte's pronouncement to re-arrest all those who were freed temporarily to take part in the peace talks," the spokesman, Captain Rhyan Batchar, told reporters.


Request to raid Park's office denied

SEOUL • South Korea's acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo Ahn has rejected special prosecutors' request to raid the presidential office as part of a probe into corruption-tainted President Park Geun Hye.

The request was raised after investigators were blocked from the presidential compound, but Mr Hwang's aide told Yonhap news agency the raid can be approved only by Ms Park's office.

"Our position that the decision related to the search must be made by the presidential office and not by the acting president remains unchanged," the aide said on condition of anonymity.

Monk caught with 4.6m meth pills

YANGON • A Buddhist monk in Myanmar has been caught hiding more than four million methamphetamine pills in his monastery, police said, following a record haul of stimulant seizures last year.

The monk, named Arsara, is in custody after police discovered 400,000 pills in his car on Sunday evening as he was driving from Shwe Baho village in the town of Maungdaw, in Rakhine state, bordering Bangladesh.

Police then went to the monk's monastery and found another 4.2 million pills, local police chief Kyaw Mya Win told AFP yesterday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2017, with the headline 'Asia Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe