Briefs, December 20, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 3:28am

Deputy PM accused of exporting 100 tigers

BANGKOK - A Thai deputy prime minister has been charged in connection with the export to China of 100 tigers, an endangered species protected by international law. Plodprasop Suraswadi approved the export of tigers from Sriracha Tiger Zoo - a popular tourist attraction a few hours from Bangkok - to a Chinese breeding firm in 2002. He was the head of the forestry department at the time. It was unclear why the charges were being brought a decade later. Plodprasop was granted bail. AFP


Anger as ex-governor's shooting case dropped

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian rights campaigners slammed a court decision to drop charges against a former governor who was the prime suspect in the shooting of three female garment workers. The trio, employees of Puma supplier Kaoway Sports, were wounded after a gunman opened fire on a protest in February demanding better working conditions at factories in eastern Svay Rieng province. Chhuk Bundith was charged with causing unintentional injuries and removed from his post. Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, said he was "disgusted at the level of impunity" in Cambodia. AFP


Vietnamese blogger's US award trip halted

HANOI - A Vietnamese blogger has been stopped from flying to the United States to pick up a human rights award on behalf of his father and sister. Huynh Trong Hieu said police detained him at Ho Chi Minh airport on Sunday. They questioned him for two hours and took his passport, which had a valid American visa. Hieu was going to the US to collect the Hellman-Hammett prize from Human Rights Watch on behalf of his father, Huynh Ngoc Tuan, and sister Huynh Thuc Vy, who are prominent bloggers. AP


Pirates seize Indian oil tanker crew

LAGOS - Armed pirates who stormed and ransacked an oil tanker off Nigeria have kidnapped five Indian crew members. Medallion Marine, which operates the SP Brussels tanker, said their vessel was boarded on Monday by "heavily armed pirates" 65 kilometres off the coast of the oil-producing Niger Delta region. AFP


Arroyo in hospital for Christmas

MANILA - Former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo will spend Christmas at a military hospital after a court rejected her bid for a temporary reprieve. She will not be allowed to leave the Veterans Memorial Medical Centre over the holidays. Arroyo had asked to go home from December 21 to January 7 but the court did not give reasons for its decision. Arroyo has been charged with plundering US$8.8 million from state lottery funds during her years in office from 2001 to 2010. AFP