South Korean kills neighbor’s dog, invites him to share meat

Updated 12 April 2018
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South Korean kills neighbor’s dog, invites him to share meat

SEOUL: A South Korean farmer killed and cooked a neighbor’s barking dog before inviting its unsuspecting owner to join him for a dog-meat dinner, police said Wednesday, in a case that has sparked online outrage.

The 62-year-old unnamed man confessed to the crime after another neighbor tipped off the pet owner’s family.

He claimed he was so irritated by the dog’s constant barking that he threw a stone at the two-year-old Welsh Corgi, resulting in the animal losing consciousness.

“Only after the dog passed out, he claims, he strangled the animal and cooked it,” a detective in the southern city of Pyeongtaek said.

“The man then invited his neighbors to share the meal, including the father of the dog-owning family,” he said.

Dog meat has long been a part of South Korean cuisine. But consumption has declined as South Koreans increasingly embrace the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, with eating them now something of a taboo among younger generations.

The case came to light when a daughter of the family this week published an online plea calling for public support to ensure that the offender be punished sternly. A petition has so far gained almost 15,000 signatures.

“We had been all around the town, handing out leaflets containing the dog’s picture, phone number and rewards of one million won ($940), in order to find the missing dog,” the daughter said by phone, asking for her family’s name to be kept anonymous.

When I reached the man’s house, which is just three doors down from ours, he expressed sympathy, promising to let us know if he found the dog.”

At that time, however, the farmer was hiding the dog, either alive or dead, in his barn, she said.

The following day, the suspect visited her father, drank with him and consoled him over the missing dog.

“He even invited neighbors to come share the dog meat, including my father who did not accept the invitation as he is a non-dog meat eater,” she said.

As many as one million dogs are still consumed in South Korea each year, with the greasy red meat — which is invariably boiled for tenderness — believed to increase energy.

Activists have stepped up campaigns to ban dog consumption. Under a newly strengthened law, animal abusers face up to two years in prison or 20 million won ($18,700) in fines.


Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

Updated 3 min 46 sec ago
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Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

  • Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana

HAVANA: Cuba’s love affair with 1950s-era American cars is still intact, but the communist-run island also has a lingering attachment to a stalwart of Soviet-era leftovers, the motorcycle sidecar.
Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana.
The retro appeal gets a lot of attention from tourists “but here it’s common, normal,” says Enrique Oropesa Valdez.
Valdez should know. The 59-year old makes a living as an instructor teaching people how to handle the sidecar in Havana’s traffic, where riders seem able to squeeze the machines through the narrowest of gaps.
And they’ve built up an intense loyalty among the mend-and-make do Cubans.
“They’re very practical,” according to Alejandro Prohenza Hernandez, a restaurateur who says his pampered red 30-year-old Jawa 350 is like a second child.
Cheaper and more practical than the gas-guzzling, shark-finned US behemoths, the bikes are used for anything from the family runabout to trucking goods and workers’ materials.
“A lot of foreigners really like to take photos of it,” says Hernandez. “I don’t know, I think they see it as something from another time.”
Cuba lags several decades behind the rest of the world due to a crippling US embargo, so the makers’ badges on the ubiquitous sidecars speak of a bygone world.
Names like Jawa from the former Czechoslovakia and MZ from the former East Germany, as well as antiquated Russian Urals, Dniepers and Jupiters.
Havana’s military acquired them from big brother Moscow at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and 70s, for use by state factories and farms. Over the years, they gradually filtered down to the general public.
That’s how Jose Antonio Ceoane Nunez, 46, found his bright red Jupiter 3.
“When the Cuban government bought sidecars from the Russians in 1981, it was for state-owned companies,” he said.
Later, the companies “sold them on to the most deserving employees,” he said. His father, who worked for a state body, passed the bike on to him.
“Even if the sidecar gets old. I’ll never sell it because it’s what I use to move around. It’s my means of transport in Cuba, and there aren’t many other options,” said Nunez.
Valdez himself has a cherished green 1977 Ural.
“I like it a lot, firstly because it’s the means of transport for my family, and secondly because it’s a source of income.”
And it costs less than a car, still out of reach of many Cubans.
Settled on the island with his Cuban wife, 38-year-old Frenchman Philippe Ruiz didn’t realize at first how ubiquitous the motorcycle sidecar was.
“When I began to be interested, I suddenly realized that I was seeing 50 to 100 a day!”
Renovating a house at the time, he saw that many sidecars were being used to transport building equipment.
Through an advert on the Internet, he bought a blue 1979 Ural a few months ago for 6,500 euros.
“It’s a year older than me and in worse shape,” he said. “Soon he had to strip the bike down and “start repairing everything.”
With few spare parts available in Cuba, “people have to bring them in from abroad,” which slows down repairs.
But he has no regrets. An experienced motorcyclist, he’s discovered a whole new side to his passion by riding the Russian machine.
“It’s very funny, it’s a big change from the bike because we cannot turn the same way, we can’t lean, so you have to relearn everything but it’s nice.”
“It’s especially nice with the family because you can put a child in the sidecar, my wife behind, and suitcases,” he said.
In future he hopes to take advantage of the interest in the old bikes to rent it out.
“I think it will be a bit of a change from all the convertibles here.”