Briefs, January 8, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 4:11am

Animal smugglers held at Jakarta airport

JAKARTA - Four Chinese nationals have been arrested in Indonesia for trying to smuggle parts of endangered hornbills and pangolins, likely for use in traditional medicine. Customs officers at Jakarta's international airport found the animal parts in the men's luggage, the Forestry Ministry said. The hornbill and pangolin parts were from Indonesian Borneo, where poaching is poorly controlled and rampant deforestation has put pressure on several endangered species. AFP


Aceh on insists on law for women passengers

LHOKSEUMAWE - Authorities in Indonesia's Aceh province are pressing ahead with a proposed law that would ban female passengers from straddling motorbikes, despite reported opposition from the central government. Aceh in 2009 introduced a version of sharia, or Islamic law, following through on a deal struck in 2005 to end a long-running separatist war. Its laws regulate women's dress and public morality, and allow for public caning. Authorities in northern Aceh distributed a notice to government offices informing residents of the proposed motorcycle law. AP


Thai authorities seize large rhino-horn haul

BANGKOK - A Vietnamese man was arrested with rhino horn worth more than US$500,000 in his luggage at Bangkok's main airport, Thai officials said. The six pieces of horn, weighing about 10.6kg, are believed to have been smuggled from Mozambique, wildlife protection authorities said. The 56-year-old suspect was detained after arriving in Thailand on a flight from Ethiopia, while waiting to board a connecting flight to Hanoi. AFP


Police van hijacked on way to Malaysian court

KUALA LUMPUR - Seven alleged criminals who were being transferred to a Malaysian court seized the opportunity to hijack the police van carrying them in a daring escape, police said. The van's driver had pulled over when a commotion burst out among the detainees, who were being taken from jail to their court proceedings in the northern state of Penang. Seven of the detainees then overwhelmed the driver and two police officers, forcing them out of the vehicle, along with two other detainees who did not take part in the hijacking. Police have launched a hunt for the seven runaways. AFP