Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback

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Elena Ryurikovna, wife of EU Ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar, releases a royal turtle (southern river terrapin) into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
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A boy looks at royal turtles (southern river terrapins) during a ceremony to release them into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
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Royal turtles (southern river terrapins) are seen during a ceremony to release them into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
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Royal turtles (southern river terrapins) are seen during a ceremony to release them into a river in Boeung Trach village, Kampong Seila district in Preah Sihanouk province on April 26, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019

Turtle Power: near extinct terrapins make Cambodian comeback

  • Royal Turtles — formally classified as Southern River Terrapins — have been pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting and sand mining, which destroyed the banks where they lay their eggs

BOEUNG TRACH, Cambodia: Twenty critically endangered ‘Royal Turtles’ were released into a remote stretch of a Cambodian river Friday — a species once feared extinct because of hunting, trafficking and illegal sand mining.
With chants from Buddhist monks and a flotilla of ceremonial flowers behind them, the reptiles inched into the Sre Ambel river system, in southwestern Preah Sihanouk province.
Conservationists hope they will form new breeding populations.
Cambodia is home to several populations of endangered turtles, coveted as delicacies and traditional medicine in Vietnam and China.
Royal Turtles — formally classified as Southern River Terrapins — have been pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting and sand mining, which destroyed the banks where they lay their eggs.
The damage was so severe that in 2000 they were feared wiped out in Cambodia, before nests were found and a careful conservation effort began.
“Our team raised them since they hatched until now... these turtles are 12 or 13 years old,” Som Sitha, technical adviser to the Wildlife Conservation Society, which ran the scheme with the help of EU funds.
“We are releasing them to restore their numbers in nature. We hope that these turtles will breed in the near future,” he said, urging local communities to help protect them.


Police raid K-pop agency over alleged illegal gambling

Updated 17 August 2019

Police raid K-pop agency over alleged illegal gambling

  • Yang Hyun-suk founder and ex-chief producer of YG Entertainment, resigned after drug and sex scandals rocked the company
  • Local news reports said Yang was alleged to have engaged in ‘habitual and illegal gambling’

SEOUL: South Korean police raided one of the biggest K-pop management firms on Saturday as part of an investigation into music mogul Yang Hyun-suk’s alleged illicit gambling.
Yang, founder and ex-chief producer of YG Entertainment, resigned from his post in June after drug and sex scandals rocked the company since March.
He was placed under formal investigation by police earlier this week over allegations of gambling involving illicit cash exchange along with Seungri, a former member of YG’s highly popular band BIGBANG.
“We are trying to gather evidence on how (Yang) secured funds for gambling, and how many times the alleged gambling took place,” a Seoul police officer told AFP.
Local news reports said Yang was alleged to have engaged in “habitual and illegal gambling,” in locations including Macau and Las Vegas since the early 2000s.
Yang was also separately placed under investigation by police last month for allegedly arranging sex services for foreign investors back in 2014.
A member of the popular boy band Seo Tae Ji and Boys in the 1990s, Yang developed YG into a K-pop powerhouse with the success of idol groups such as BIGBANG and BLACKPINK.
The firm is now considered one of South Korea’s top three entertainment agencies alongside SM and JYP, and was behind the 2012 mega hit “Gangnam Style” by Psy that helped raise K-pop’s global profile.
But it has been in hot water since Yang and some of its stars were implicated in a spate of scandals.
Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, retired in March after being accused of arranging sex services for potential investors in his business.
In June, fellow YG artist Kim Han-bin, a member of boyband iKon, left the group amid allegations he had bought illegal drugs three years ago — in a case Yang is also accused of trying to cover up.
Earlier this year, a building owned by another YG star Daesung also came under investigation over an allegation that four of its tenants were involved with illicit sex and drug businesses.