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Monday, February 27, 2017

Censorship killing Malaysian film industry, filmmaker says after Lena Hendry conviction

PETALING JAYA - The conviction of activist Lena Hendry over a documentary screening raises concerns that government censorship will kill the country's filmmaking industry, a filmmaker said today.

Nadira Ilana, 29, said the arbitrary and fluid nature of local censorship laws creates a “huge confusion” on what filmmakers can or cannot make.

Abducted pastor’s family praying for a miracle

PETALING JAYA - It has been two long and agonising weeks for the family of abducted Pastor Raymond Koh who are praying for a miracle and breakthrough in the case.

His son Jonathan hoped more witnesses or those with clue of the abduction would step forward to help in investigations.

He said every bit of information would help and some new evidences obtained from the public have been handed over to the police last week.

Military pounds suspected Abu Sayyaf lair in Basilan

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines has launched an offensive against terror group Abu Sayyaf in Al-barka, Basilan early Monday morning, the town's mayor confirmed.

Mayor Darus Ladjid said the military started to bombard Barangay Makalang at about 3 a.m. Monday dawn where the group of Abu Sayyaf Group commander Nurhassan Jamiri is suspected to be holed in.

Ladjid said there is no encounter as of yet.

German hostage beheaded by Abu Sayyaf terrorists

Islamist militants in the Philippines have reportedly beheaded a German man who, eight years ago, survived being held for nearly two months by Somali pirates.

According to reports that security officials said they have yet to fully verify, Abu Sayyaf  murdered Mr Jurgen Kantner, 70, after the collapse of talks for his release in exchange for a 30 million-peso (S$854,000) ransom.

N. Korea spy agency runs arms operation out of Malaysia, UN says

KUALA LUMPUR - It is in Kuala Lumpur's Little India neighbourhood, behind an unmarked door on the second floor of a rundown building, where a military equipment company called Glocom says it has its office.

Glocom is a front company run by North Korean intelligence agents that sells battlefield radio equipment in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a United Nations report drafted for the Security Council seen by Reuters.

IS-linked Indonesian shot dead after bomb attack

BANDUNG - Indonesian police shot dead a man linked to the Islamic State (IS) group during a firefight at a government office Monday after a small bomb was set off nearby.

No one apart from the attacker was hurt in the incident in the city of Bandung on Java island, which started with a pressure cooker bomb exploding in a park before the gunbattle erupted in the office opposite.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Abduction case of Pastor Raymond should be taken seriously

COMMENT | The safety of abducted Pastor Raymond Koh is now top priority for Malaysian churches.

If he returns alive, it is all well and probably the family would want to just move on; if he is found dead, it raises alarm as questions would be asked whether our country has been infiltrated by ‘extremists-bordering-towards-terrorists’ as a possible explanation to the mysterious abduction.

Two women suspects thought it's a harmless prank

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Two women — a Vietnamese and an Indonesian — have been arrested for allegedly coating their hands with the immensely toxic chemical agent VX and wiping them on the face of the North Korean leader's estranged half brother Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur's airport. He died within hours.

The women told officials from their embassies in Malaysia that they believed the entire operation was a harmless prank for a reality show. Malaysian police say the attackers knew what they were doing and had been trained to go immediately to the bathroom and clean their hands.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Christians raise concerns over pastor’s disappearance

COMMENT | Coming in the wake of the hudud bill tabled before Parliament, the mysterious disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh have raised concerns among the minority Christians in Malaysia.

The first foreign agency to respond to the news was ‘Voice of Persecuted Christians’, known under its portal name as Release International. It claimed Koh’s abduction was because of his church work.

Release International also claimed another pastor and his wife, who have not been named, went missing a month ago. Local Christian chat groups have identified this couple but police have neither denied nor confirmed it.

Siti Aishah speaks: "I thought it was baby oil, not poison"

CYBERJAYA - Siti Aishah, the Indonesian suspect in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, has maintained that she was duped into committing the act, believing it was a prank for a TV show.

This was revealed to reporters by Indonesian deputy ambassador to Malaysia, Andreano Erwin, following a 30-minute meeting with Aishah at the Cyberjaya police station here this morning.

"She said she was paid RM400 for her activities. She didn't know that it was poison. That is the answer from her.

"She only said in general that somebody had asked her to do (it) and she didn't know what would happen next.

"She mentioned some names, but I did not recognise them. The names were very general… James, Jang, that's it," he said.

Malaysia to issue arrest warrant for North Korean diplomat, reasonable time given

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia said on Saturday it would issue an arrest warrant for a North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over the murder of Kim Jong Nam if he doesn’t voluntarily cooperate with the police.

“Reasonable” time will be given for the diplomat to come forward before police take further action, said Abdul Samah Mat, the police chief for Selangor state.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Geng Hitam smashed as KK cops nab five gang members

KOTA KINABALU: Police smashed a notorious group of armed robbers dubbed “Geng Hitam” after five members were nabbed in a series of raids from northern Sabah to the city here. 

N. Korea lashes ally China over coal import ban

North Korea denounced its chief ally and diplomatic protector China for "dancing to the tune of the US" after it banned coal imports in apparent punishment for a missile launch.

Beijing and Pyongyang have a relationship forged in the blood of the Korean War, but ties have begun to fray in recent years, with China increasingly exasperated by its wayward neighbour's nuclear antics.

Last week it announced the suspension of all coal imports from the North -- a crucial foreign currency earner for Pyongyang -- for the rest of the year.

After Umno Youth, it's Rani Kulup's turn on North Korea

The king of police reports also wants North Korea to retract its statement that Malaysia is colluding with foreign governments in probing Kim Jong Nam’s killing
KUALA LUMPUR - While Putrajaya and Pyongyang’s spat over the murder of Kim Jong Nam continues, in walks Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah, dubbed the king of police reports, to have his say.

Rights body to help Sabah Christians with ‘Islam’ MyKads

KOTA KINABALU  - A human rights advocate said today that many Christians in Sabah were holding MyKads which listed them as Muslim.

Daniel John Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), said his organisation planned to help these people.

Jambun cited the latest example of Julitah Bahiau who is trying to get the National Registration Department (JPN) to change her son’s religion from Islam to Christian on the birth certificate.

Police probing how nerve agent got into country

SEPANG - Police will ask the Atomic Energy Licensing Board to carry out a sweep of the KL International Airport 2 for traces of the highly toxic VX nerve agent.

Six questions about: VX, the chemical WMD that killed Kim Jong-nam

KUALA LUMPUR - Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar today  identified the VX nerve agent as the chemical weapon used in the alleged assassination of Kim Jong-nam.

Khalid said investigators discovered the powerful neuro-toxin, classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, on swabs taken from the eyes and face of the former heir to the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spies spies everywhere

We have seen a great deal of Double-O-Seven movies, and this could very much be the first ever real-life incident that we can get as close to spy movie plots as possible, right on this land.

The James Bond movies are rich in the elements of spying and assassinations that characterize many a secret agent, but for such things to take place in our vicinity and before our eyes is an unimaginable eye-opener.

Damage control North Korea style: Deny and attack

TOKYO - Faced with the killing of its leader's half brother in what appears to have all the trappings of a politically motivated hit, North Korea is turning up the volume on a familiar defense: Flatly deny the allegations, viciously attack the accusers.

It's a position the North has been in before, from dismissing U.N. reports outlining human rights abuses or the findings to disputing who threw the first punch in the Korean War.

But, while master of the message at home, rarely, if ever, has Pyongyang managed to effectively sway world opinion.

Kim Jong-nam's next-of-kin to arrive in M'sia in day or two: Police

A next-of-kin of Kim Jong-nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korea's leader, is expected to arrive in Malaysia in one or two days’ time, to assist police in identifying his body.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the relative lives “not far from Malaysia” and is expected to aid in the process of identification, which has yet to be carried out.

Noor Rashid reemphasised that to date, none of Kim's family members has come forward to identify the body.

Malaysia can’t arrest North Korean diplomat, says ex-envoy

Malaysia cannot arrest the North Korean diplomat wanted for questioning over the murder of Kim Jong Nam as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Hyon Kwang Song, a second secretary at the North Korean embassy, can only be questioned or detained by Malaysian police if Pyongyang revokes his immunity.

Former veteran Malaysian diplomat Dennis Ignatius said there was therefore nothing much that Malaysian authorities could do, even if they connect Kwang Song to the murder of Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Malaysia requests Interpol help on 4 North Korean suspects

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has requested Interpol to put an alert out to apprehend four North Korean suspects in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said today.

The estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) last week, in what South Korean and US officials say was an assassination carried out by North Korean agents.

Jong-nam murder: Vietnamese suspect was keen singer

KUALA LUMPUR - The Vietnamese woman suspected of helping to kill the North Korean leader's half-brother was a keen singer whose Facebook pages featured pouting portraits and pictures of parties. 

Four days before Kim Jong-nam was killed at a Malaysian airport, she appears to have posted a picture of herself wearing a shirt emblazoned with the acronym "LOL", similar to the one on the fleeing suspect caught on CCTV cameras. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Senior official of N. Korean embassy and staffer wanted for questioning in Jong-nam murder

Malaysian police today named a senior official in North Korea’s embassy and a staffer at its state airline, who are wanted for questioning over the murder last week of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader.

Kim Jong-nam, 46, was killed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, while preparing to board a flight to Macau, where he lived in exile with his family under the protection of Beijing.

Businesswoman shot more than 10 times

GEORGE TOWN – A businesswoman driving a white BMW was found dead with six gunshot wounds to the chest and head at Taman Pekaka 1, Sungai Dua, Gelugor yesterday, around 5.45pm.

The victim, Ruby Lee Poh Ai, 50, was found dead in the driver's seat of the car she had reportedly bought less than a year ago, according to Kosmo!

Special task force formed to investigate pastor’s abduction

KUALA LUMPUR - Police will set up a special task force, headed by the Selangor CID chief, to investigate the abduction of a pastor on Feb 13.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, speaking on the matter for the first time since the incident, also said that police had recorded the statements of eight people whom they believe can assist in the investigation.

Police: Suspects in N. Korean Death Coated Hands With Poison

Police say the women suspected of poisoning a scion of North Korea's ruling family were trained to coat their hands with toxic chemicals then wipe them on his face.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The women suspected of fatally poisoning a scion of North Korea's ruling family were trained to coat their hands with toxic chemicals then wipe them on his face, police said Wednesday, announcing they were now seeking a North Korean diplomat in connection with the attack.

Abu Sayyaf kills Vietnamese sailor, kidnaps 6

MANILA - Despite intensified military offensive operations against them, members of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terror group struck anew and killed a Vietnamese sailor and kidnapped six others off the island province of Tawi-Tawi in restive Mindanao.

Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, the spokesman of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, confirmed on Tuesday the extremists aboard a speedboat attacked the Vietnamese vessel M/V Giang Hai on Sunday night.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Seoul on high alert, intensifies security along border after Jong Nam murder

SEOUL - South Korea’s military is on high alert following the murder of of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Seoul believes that North Korea may make some provocative moves against it.

Tensions between the two rival nations rose following Pyongyang’s missile test launch on Feb 12.
The death of Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Malaysia on Feb 13 has further aggravated the situation.

Vietnam: Bird Flu Outbreaks In Neighbouring Nations Prompt Action

HANOI, Feb 21 (Bernama) - An urgent meeting was held here on Monday to discuss measures to prevent avian influenza viruses, especially A/H7N9, which are spreading in some neighbouring countries, Vietnam news agency (VNA) reported.

Director of the Health Ministry's Department of Preventive Medicine Tran Dac Phu cited the World Health Organisation as saying, the A/H7N9 virus is raging in 14 provinces and cities of China with a sharp rise in incidences and a high mortality rate (about 40 percent).

No heart attack, no puncture marks on Jong Nam's body

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN) - Kim Jong Nam didn't have a heart attack and the medics who conducted his autopsy found no obvious puncture marks or wounds, a top Malaysian health official said Tuesday, compounding the mystery over the North Korean's death.

Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, the director-general of Malaysia's Ministry of Health, addressed a packed room of journalists at the morgue where Kim's body is being held, saying that the cause of death won't be released until lab tests from the autopsy are completed.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Reward for missing pastor’s recovery increased to RM100,000

KUCHING - The reward for information leading to the safe return of missing pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo has been raised to RM100,000 from the initial offer of RM10,000.

In a statement, Koh’s family said it hoped that the increase would help in efforts to finding Koh and returning him to them safely.

“Our family is grateful and touched that concerned well-wishers have stepped up to increase the reward money offered,” said Susanna Liew, the pastor’s wife.

Pastor Koh was abducted on Feb 13 between 10.30 and 10.45 am while he was driving a silver-coloured 1990 model Honda Accord (ST 5515 D) along Jalan SS4B/10, Petaling Jaya, Selangor – about 300-400 metres after the Caltex petrol station from the turn-off from the LDP Expressway.

Video of Jong-Nam's murder

PETALING JAYA - It does not look like an innnocent prank.

A sensational video has emerged on YouTube showing what looks like the attack on Kim Jong-nam at the KLIA2 on Monday.

Malaysia recalls envoy from North Korea

Malaysia has stepped up diplomatic measures against North Korea in an escalating row over the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-nam died in mysterious circumstances last week at an airport in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Police believe he was poisoned.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Phil govt to use 'all resources' against Abu Sayyaf

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday told security forces to use all government resources to protect Mindanao from the Abu Sayyaf Group, which he said has been destroying the peace in the country’s south.

In a speech before alumni of the Philippine Military Academy during their homecoming here, the President said that both the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police have been directed to continuously contain the ASG threat “through intensified operations using all available assets and resources.”

RUU355: 'Muslims don’t need this right now'

PERLIS Mufti Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin spoke bluntly at a recent forum on religion.

“Gossiping is a big sin in Islam but are there (syariah) laws against gossiping? Do you see the religious authorities sending officers out to haul up those who gossip?’’

He points out that while some things are haram (forbidden) and sinful in Islam, that does not mean that Allah demands for all of these to be punished in a court of law.

Post mortem inconclusive, next of kin given two weeks to claim Jong-Nam's body

KUALA LUMPUR - The police have given Kim Jong-Nam’s next-of-kin two weeks to claim his body, but refused to reveal their next course of action if the body is not claimed.

“I am giving two weeks, not more,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said today.

Noor Rashid said that so far, no family members of Jong-Nam, who was killed after being swabbed with a chemical liquid at KLIA2 on February 13, had come forward to claim the body.

Missing pastor’s wife offers RM10,000 reward

Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo
The family of pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, who was recently abducted in Petaling Jaya, Selangor is offering a reward of up to RM10,000 for any information on his whereabouts.

“I would like to appeal to those who have taken my husband to return him safe and unharmed to me and my children. I would also like to appeal to any eyewitnesses to come forward.

“I would also like to offer a reward amounting to a maximum of RM10,000 for information leading to the rescue of my dear husband,” said Koh’s wife Susanna Liew Sow Yoke in a recent statement following the abduction of Koh on Feb 13.

Kim Jong-nam murder: Police seeks interpol in manhunt for four more suspects

Ri Jong-chol
KUALA LUMPUR - Police are looking for four suspects in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the suspects, all North Koreans, left the country on Monday Feb 13, the day of Jong-nam's murder.

"We can confirm that the four left the country on the same day of the attack.

Toxicologists say finding poison in Kim Autopsy is difficult

A paranoid dictator's estranged brother. Two young female assassins. A crowded international airport.

And a mysterious poison that kills within hours. It's the perfect recipe for a thrilling cloak-and-dagger spy novel. Except some — or possibly even all — of this tale could be true in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the older half-brother of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

N. Korea accuses Malaysia of working with its enemies

KUALA LUMPUR: North Korea has accused the Malaysian Government of being in cahoots with Pyongyang's enemies over the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Ambassador Kang Chol (pix) told reporters that North Korea would reject the outcome of the postmortem conducted “on its citizen without permission.”

“This is a violation of the human rights of … our citizen,” he said outside the Hospital Kuala Lumpur mortuary on Friday night.

Jong-nam was killed at KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2) on Monday.

Mother, son cheat death twice after car knocks them off bridge and almost falls on them (Video)

BEIJING - A mother and her six-year-old son escaped alive after they were knocked off a bridge by an SUV in southwestern China last week, Chinese media reported.

RUU355 will affect all Malaysians, says activist

Azrul Khalib
PETALING JAYA - PAS' proposed Syariah Court amendments will affect all Malaysians, said social activist Azrul Khalib.

The harsher Syariah punishments that PAS is seeking would most likely target the weaker and more vulnerable members of society, he told a counter-rally protesting the amendments.

Citing the example of Indonesia's Aceh province, where an elderly non-Muslim woman was whipped in public for selling alcohol, Azrul said this proves that non-Muslims can be affected by the Syariah amendments.

'LOL' suspect in Kim Jong Nam's killing had wad of cash...

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA (Reuters) - The woman with the acronym 'LOL' on her shirt who was arrested this week in connection with the murder of North Korea's Kim Jong Nam stayed in cheap hotels, carried a wad of cash and cut her hair a day before the brazen attack at Kuala Lumpur airport.

According to the receptionist at one of the hotels, a woman who had checked in under the Vietnamese name of Doan Thi Huong on Sunday Feb. 12 left early in the morning on Monday, the day of the assassination, and returned later, showing no signs of stress.

Johor Sultan visits families of teens killed in horrific tragedy

JOHOR BARU - Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar visited the next of kin of the eight teenage cyclists who were killed after a car rammed into them.

He arrived at the mortuary of Hospital Sultan Aminah, where the victims' family members and relatives were waiting, at about 11.15am on Saturday.

Sultan Ibrahim, who was also in tears when speaking to the families, told them to monitor their children's whereabouts at all times and not to simply allow them to roam the streets, especially at night.

Fourth suspect arrested is North Korean

One of the four, identified as North Korean citizen Ri Jong Chol
PETALING JAYA - The police have named the North Korean national they arrested last night over the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother in Malaysia as Ri Jong Chol. He is 47 years old.

Ri is one of four men the police are chasing in a massive manhunt as the four were said to have instigated the two women accused of carrying out the murder by poisoning Kim Jong Nam at klia2.

In a statement, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said the North Korean suspect was arrested in Selangor at 9.50 pm.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Philippines: 2 troops, 2 communist rebels killed in clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Two Philippine soldiers and two communist rebels have been killed in a recent encounter that also left 15 troops wounded in the country’s troubled south, according to the military Friday.

Army spokesman Maj. Esra Balagtey told Anadolu Agency in an email that a clash took place on the outskirts of Davao City -- the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte -- after troops pursuing rebels ran into a landmine Wednesday afternoon.

Couple sues JAWI after traumatic khalwat raid

KUALA LUMPUR - A husband and his wife today sued the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) for raiding and arresting them for khalwat or close proximity.

Mohd Ridhuan Giman, 34, and Siti Sarah Maulad Abdullah, 26, who have been married for three years, are demanding an apology from JAWI for their traumatic experience that resulted in injuries and their wrongful detention even after showing proof of their marriage.

China loses a friend, and leverage, with North Korean murder

The mysterious death of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother removed a potential avenue for China to press the North Korean leader to rein in his nuclear ambitions.

Kim Jong Nam, 46, lived out of North Korea for many years and had close links to China. He started families in both Beijing and Macau, and had the protection of Chinese authorities, according to a South Korean lawmaker who was briefed on intelligence reports.

Police: Too early to conclude foreign special agents killed Jong Nam

The police say it is still too early to conclude that foreign special agents killed Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in Malaysia on Monday.

Bukit Aman Special Branch director Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the investigation was ongoing and that the case was complicated.

He declined further comment when asked about the arrests of two women holding foreign passports and a Malaysian man over the killing.