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China protests after suspected N Korean army deserter kills 4

China protests after suspected N Korean army deserter kills 4
China said on Monday it had lodged a protest with Pyongyang after media reports said a North Korean army deserter killed four Chinese nationals during a robbery in the Chinese border city of Helong late last month.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing in Beijing that China “would handle the matter in accordance with the law”.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported the deserter was detained by Chinese authorities just north of the Tumen River that divides China and North Korea. The 521-km long river in the far north is a popular breakout route used by defectors fleeing the secretive state.

The incident involving the armed North Korean occurred on December 28, the report quoted unidentified sources as saying.

Dong-A Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, said that North Korea had realigned its border troops after the incident.

South Korea’s unification ministry said they could not confirm the reports.

Since he took power after the death of his father in 2011, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has strengthened border security to prevent defections, according to defectors and activists.

Ministry gave no details about the incident, but said it has lodged a protest with North Korea.

“China’s public security bureau will handle the case according to law,” a ministry spokeswoman said, suggesting the suspect will be prosecuted in China rather than handed back to Pyongyang.

It is not unknown for North Koreans to cross the porous border into China in search of food.

Many trying to escape the country cross into China before seeking to travel onto a third country and then into South Korea. China often repatriates defectors back to the North, ruling them economic migrants.

Activists say North Korea has strengthened border security to prevent defections since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011.

Four Pakistani death row convicts acquitted

The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday acquitted four death row convicts who were awarded the sentence for their involvement in a 2002 Rawalpindi suicide attack in which 19 people were killed.

The four convicts -- Fazal Mohammad, Tahir Mehmood, Hafiz Naseer and Habibullah -- were sentenced to death by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi in 2004 for their involvement in the attack, Dawn reported. Following the death sentence, the convicts had filed an intro-court appeal.

The defendants’ counsel pleaded in court that there was no solid evidence which showed that the convicts were responsible for or linked to the attack. After hearing the counsel’s arguments, the court acquitted the convicts. On Sunday, death warrants were issued against eight convicts, including an Al Qaeda member and four other militants. The hangings are scheduled for Jan 7, 13, 15 and 15.

In December 2014, the Pakistan government ended its moratorium on the death penalty in terror-related cases, following a terrorist attack on an army run Peshawar school in the same month in which 150 people were killed.
Agencies

Agencies

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