Human trafficker sentenced to death in China

18/12/08;,25197,24817125-12335,00.html; (3 Items)

China has sentenced to death the head of a human trafficking ring that lured dozens of women with promises of work, then kidnapped and sold them across the country, state media reported today. The 29-member gang sold 88 women to be wives in three different provinces, the Xinhua news agency said, citing a court in Guiyang, capital of China’s southwestern Guizhou province. An 11-year-old girl was also sold, it said. He Kaixun, the ring-leader, who had kidnapped and sold 35 of the 89 victims, was sentenced to death in his first trial, the agency said.  Two other gang members were given suspended death sentences, pending two years’ good behaviour. A number of others were given jail terms ranging from two years to life. The traffickers had promised their victims jobs packaging tea and sunflower seeds, even taking them to “a fake factory where the ring members pretended to be managers and workers”, Xinhua said. The victims were then sent to other provinces on the pretence of purchasing raw materials, but were sold as “wives” to local people, the agency added. Eighty-eight of the victims had been rescued and sent home after police cracked down on the ring, Xinhua said.

Serial rapist loses appeal on Tokyo murder of Australian
Peter Alford; 17/12/08
A Japanese appeal court has upheld a depraved playboy’s conviction for raping and causing the death of young Australian woman Carita Ridgway in 1992. The Tokyo High Court yesterday also upheld Joji Obara’s convictions for the rape of eight other women and his sentence of life imprisonment. However, Obara, 56, once again escaped punishment for the death of Briton Lucie Blackman. Both women were 21 when they died, but eight years elapsed between Ridgway’s death in hospital from liver failure caused by chloroform poisoning and Blackman’s disappearance. The discovery of her dismembered body in a seaside cave in February 2001 finally brought Obara’s rampage to an end.

Outrage over sentence reduction for gang rapists
Bellinda Kontominas; 18/12/08
The Sydney gang rapists Bilal and Mohammed Skaf have had their sentences reduced, prompting outrage by their victims and calls that the judicial system is out of touch with community values. Bilal Skaf, 26, was serving 38 years for a string of sexual assaults committed in Greenacre and Bankstown in August 2000. But his sentence for the gang rape of a 16-year-old student at Gosling Park in Greenacre was reduced yesterday by two years, cutting his maximum overall sentence to 36 years. He will now be eligible for parole in 2031. His brother Mohammed, 25, who is also serving time for another attack, had his sentence reduced by three years. He will be eligible for release 18 months earlier, in January 2018.