Death for three Xinjiang plane hijackers

Updated 11 December 2012
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Death for three Xinjiang plane hijackers

BEIJING: A court in China’s restive Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang sentenced three men to death yesterday after they were found guilty of trying to hijack an aircraft and detonate explosives, state media said.
The men, along with a fourth who received a life prison term, were among a group of six that tried to seize the aircraft after it had taken off from Hotan in the northwestern region and were thwarted by passengers and crew, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a court statement.
The other two-gang members died in the struggle, which also resulted in injuries to 24 crew members and passengers, the statement said.
They were confronted after they tried to “detonate explosive devices,” the statement from the Intermediate People’s Court in Hotan Prefecture said, adding that “converted metal crutches and explosives” were used in the hijacking.
The men attempted to commandeer the Tianjin Airlines flight 1,400 km away from its destination, the regional capital city of Urumqi.
They were influenced by religious extremists and “loudly shouted religious extremist cries” on board the aircraft, the Xinhua report said, citing court testimonies.
“They decided to blow up the aircraft and die along with all the other passengers,” it added.
Ringleaders Musa Yvsup and Arxidikali Yimin, along with Eyumer Yimin, who played a major part in the attempted hijack, were sentenced to death.
Alem Musa received a life sentence as he played a minor role in the incident and showed “a good attitude” after being arrested, according to the statement.
“All the defendants confessed the above crimes at the court,” the report added.
However, Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress, disputed the official version of events, claiming that a fight over seating broke out on board the aircraft between a group of Uighurs and Han Chinese, the country’s majority ethnic group.
“The men who were sentenced were not allowed their own lawyers, only those that were given to them by the government,” he said.


Almost $30 million seized in raids linked to Malaysian ex-PM

Updated 16 min 8 sec ago
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Almost $30 million seized in raids linked to Malaysian ex-PM

  • The money was seized along with 284 boxes containing designer handbags, as well as watches and jewelry from a condominium in Kuala Lumpur
  • Public disgust at allegations of corruption swirling around Najib was a major factor for the loss

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police said Friday they found cash amounting to almost $30 million in a raid on a luxury apartment as they probed corruption allegations swirling around ousted leader Najib Razak.
The money was seized along with 284 boxes containing designer handbags, as well as watches and jewelry from a condominium in Kuala Lumpur, which was raided along with Najib’s home and other sites last week.
Najib’s coalition was thrown out of power for the first time in over six decades in the May 9 poll, defeated by a reformist alliance headed by his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad.
Public disgust at allegations of corruption swirling around Najib was a major factor for the loss, with the ex-leader, his family and cronies accused of looting billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
There has been much speculation about what the seized goods consisted of and their value after five trucks were reportedly brought in to help move the vast stash.
Giving an update, the police’s head of commercial crime Amar Singh said: “From the money found, there were 26 currencies, the total amount as of yesterday is 114 million ($28.6 million).”
The money was found in 35 bags while another 37 bags contained watches and jewelry, he told a press conference. The value of other items will be calculated later, he said.
The seizure of the luxury goods added to public scorn of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, long reviled by Malaysians for her perceived haughty demeanour and reported vast collection of designer bags, clothing and jewelry.
Her love of overseas shopping trips, as middle class Malaysians struggle with rising living costs, added to a sense of spreading, deeply-entrenched rot in the country’s long-ruling elite.
The couple’s fall from grace has been swift and hard.
They have been barred from leaving the country and the ex-premier has been questioned by anti-graft investigators over claims 1MDB money ended up in his bank accounts, and looks likely to be charged.
Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.