China Digest, December 3, 2012
Chemistry student on trial
A former chemistry major aged 27 appeared in court on Saturday, charged with making amphetamines at his home in August, Beijing Times reports. The man said he spent 5,000 yuan (HK$6,166) buying materials and equipment online. The man said he did not think it was a crime if he did not distribute the drugs. No verdict had been reached in the trial.
Septic tank explodes
A waitress at a restaurant in Chaoyang district suffered serious injuries to her head and face on Friday when the septic tank belonging to an adjacent residential area exploded because of a build-up of methane gas, Beijing News reports. Witnesses said the tank lid shot 10 metres into the air, and the waitress was struck by debris.
Four die in overloaded taxi
Four people died when an overloaded taxi drove off the road in Lianjiang county, Fuzhou, and plunged into the East China Sea, Beijing Youth Daily reports. Police said the driver was not familiar with the road and lost control. Both he and a passenger in the front seat survived, but three women and a man in the back seat were killed.
Rail tracks finished
After 50 months of work, construction workers finished laying the tracks on Saturday for a railway between Fuzhou and Nanchang, Jiangxi province, Strait City Daily reports. The railway, which is scheduled to open for passenger service in September, will shorten the train ride from 11 to 3½ hours. The train will run at a maximum speed of 200km/h. The line will be more direct than the current, winding route.
Fin smugglers nabbed
Customs officials in the river port city of Jiangmen have detained nine men for smuggling 272 tonnes of shark fins and sea slugs, worth an estimated 324 million yuan, Guangzhou Daily reports. Officials became suspicious of a seafood company after finding that the price it paid for imported items was considerably less than the market value. An investigation revealed that the company owners registered other companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which exported to the mainland company at very low prices. A raid on the company last month found that the declared value of the goods was an average of 66 per cent less than the market price.
A middle-aged woman in Shenzhen was caught pouring a cola on to an ATM because she was told it would cause the machine to malfunction and give her money, Southern Metropolis Daily reports. Police caught the woman in the act, and found that she had tried the same thing at another machine. She told police she was desperate for money because she received a call telling her to deposit 15,000 yuan in an unfamiliar account or risk going to jail. When she told the caller she did not have any money, she was told to try the bogus cola trick.
A malfunctioning gas furnace at a power plant in Harbin forced more than 20,000 residents to suffer without heat for most of the weekend, as the temperature fell below minus 20 degrees Celsius, China National Radio reports. The heating supply stopped at around 3pm on Friday, and repair work continued until yesterday. The cause of the broken furnace was not given. Residents said they had to wear several layers indoors to stay warm.
Target to double incomes
Provincial officials have set a target to double average household income by 2020 from 2010 levels, in line with the nationwide goal to increase incomes, according to an unnamed official from the provincial development and reform department, China Business News reported yesterday. The official said there was no timetable yet for releasing the plan.
Migrant in mystery death
Health authorities in Zhengzhou say a 38-year-old migrant worker was found dead under an overpass on Friday, eight days after passers-by had called an ambulance after seeing him there. The ambulance came, but paramedics found the man lucid and without apparent injury, and he refused to go to hospital, Dahe Daily reports. When an ambulance was called again eight days later, the man was dead. It was unclear why he stayed there or what had killed him.
In fear of germs
A man in Zhengzhou has such an extreme fear of germs that he has been divorced five times in 17 years. He takes a couple of two-hour baths every day, and has gone through four washing machines in three years, because he constantly washes his clothes, Zhengzhou Evening Post reports.
Ming bell dented by rocks
A bell from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in Shanyang county, Shangluo, is cracked and dented because passers-by have frequently thrown bricks and rocks at it to hear it toll, Huashang Daily reports. The bell is a protected relic, and is kept in a fenced-off pavilion. It was meant to be rung only with wood. Local conservationists have asked for funding to protect the bell, but local authoritiesdenied the request.
Father and son robbers
A man aged 50 and his son, 23, were arrested after robbing a Xian gold retailer in broad daylight on Wednesday, Huashang Daily reports. The father said he was 100,000 yuan in debt, and his son's girlfriend needed money for treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis. They stole jewellery worth 160,000 yuan from the store and also confessed to stealing 9,000 yuan from another gold retailer. The police officer who caught the duo was the same one who arrested the father in 2003 for stealing telecommunication cables. The father served 7½ years in jail for that crime.
Woman shot with syringe
Police in the municipality have detained a taxi driver who allegedly used a small crossbow to shoot a woman with medical syringes containing an anaesthetic, Beijing News reports. Police were alerted after the woman wrote online about being shot in the arm. She said the driver also followed her and tried to take her away. Police tracked down the driver and found 81 syringes and the crossbow at his home. His motives were unclear.
Snowfall closes highways
All sections of highway in Tianjin remained closed yesterday evening after the first snowfall of the season made roads slick on Saturday, Tianjinwe.com reports. The snowfall lasted from about 3pm to 6pm on Saturday but melted as soon as it hit the ground, raising concerns that it would turn to ice.
Girl's organs save others
The parents of a 15-year-old girl who was left brain-dead after suffering a cerebral aneurysm in Shaoxing about a week ago decided on Saturday to withdraw her life support and donate her organs, Zhejiang Daily reports. The girl's parents said they wanted part of her to live on by saving others. Five people benefited from the sacrifice, after her liver, kidneys and corneas were donated.
Thieving courier jailed
A courier aged 27 in Xiaoshan was sentenced on Friday to three years in jail for stealing goods valued at 70,000 yuan that he was supposed to deliver, zjol.com.cn reports. In April, he spotted a package of tea that he wanted, so he changed the delivery address to his own. A few days later, he changed the address on a large package containing about 400 pieces of women's clothing, sending them instead to his wife. The courier was apprehended after the rightful recipients complained that they had not received their goods.