Sunday, 22 February 2009

Urban warfare erupted on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe

Britons are among thousands of tourists fleeing Guadeloupe after full scale urban warfare erupted on the French Caribbean island.Trouble broke out on the island earlier last month after protesters began rioting over high prices and low wages.
But the situation escalated this week after protesters began turning on rich white families as they demanded an end to colonial control of the economy.The troubles come at the height of the holiday season, with thousands of mainly British, French and American tourists on the paradise tropical island.Guadeloupe descends into full-scale urban warfare after demonstrators riot over low wages and white control of the island's economyViolence has escalated on the Caribbean island as protesters turn their attention to rich white families who they blame for their poor standard of livingProtesters were now targeting 'all white people', with the media in mainland France describing the situation as virtual civil war'.Guadeloupe is a French overseas department ruled directly from Paris, and authorities in France have sent 300 extra riot police to the island in a bid to quell the violence.Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters are roaming the streets of the capital Point-a-Pitre, looting shops and restaurants, burning cars and vandalising public buildings.Holiday resorts along the coast have hired extra security to protect tourists, while the airport is jammed with visitors now trying to get out of the country.Union leader Jacques Bino was the first man to die in the violence when he was caught in crossfire on Tuesday while driving a car near a roadblock manned by armed youths who had opened fire at police.Six members of the security forces were injured during shoot-outs with the armed youths as they tried to help emergency teams who were trying to save Mr Bino's life.Dozens more police and demonstrators have also been hurt in frequent clashes on the capital's streets - which one newspaper describing it as looking like a battlefield'.Protesters ransacked shops and torched cars as the island descends into full-scale urban warfareMost shops, banks, schools and government offices are now shut in Guadeloupe and the neighbouring French tourist island of Martinique - where protests are also mounting.Guadeloupe's socialist opposition leader Malikh Boutih said: 'It is shocking to watch a police force which is almost 100 per cent white confront a population which is 100 per cent black.'All the same elements of the riots on mainland France in 2005 are present here.'We don't have the same concrete buildings, there are palm trees instead, but it's the same dead-end, the same "no future" for young people, with joblessness and a feeling of isolation.' The first protests began a month ago when the left-wing union coalition, the Collective Against Exploitation, demanded a £180 a month pay increase for low-wage earners. President Nicolas Sarkozy sent his minster for overseas departments to the island to meet with union leaders on response to the demands. But the racial tensions which have been simmering for decades exploded into full-scale rioting, with colonial descendants who own 90 per cent of the wealth becoming the focus of the violence.The unrest was further aggravated last week when wealthy white landowner Alain Huyghues-Despointes publicly criticised mixed-race marriages and said he preferred to 'preserve his race'.In Paris, the violence has provoked divisions in Mr Sarkozy's cabinet with black minister Rachida Data acknowledging that Guadeloupe suffered from 'a problem with the distribution of wealth'.Laetitia Delaprade, spokeswoman at Voyages Antillais, a Paris-based travel agency that specialises in French Caribbean, said: 'People are scared. No one wants to go there and those that are there want to get out.' Tourism Authority chief Madeleine de Grandmaison said: 'Tourism is fragile. People are not only cancelling this week, but also for all the months of February, March and April.'We have a huge deficit of tourists ahead of us. At least 10,000 tourists have cancelled vacations in Martinique and Guadeloupe.'

Friday, 20 February 2009

John Fitzgerald Kennedy committed multiple murders for financial gain, special circumstances that qualify him for a potential death penalty.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy sat with his hands folded on the counsel table when he learned that the six-man, six-woman jury also determined that he committed multiple murders for financial gain, special circumstances that qualify him for a potential death penalty.Reputed Long Beach street gang member showed no emotion Thursday when an Orange County jury – after less than three hours of deliberations – convicted him of two counts of first-degree murder for his role in the murders at sea of yacht owners Thomas and Jackie Hawks.Jurors will return to Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel's 9th floor courtroom on Monday to hear additional testimony to help them decide if Kennedy should get death, or life without the possibility of parole.Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said he will see to introduce evidence about Kennedy's prior criminal record, including a 1988 attempted gang murder. The prosecutor said he will also call to the witness stand some of Thomas and Jackie Hawks' family to show the impact that their deaths have had on others. "We're looking forward to Monday," Murphy said.Defense attorney Winston Keith McKesson said he was disappointed with the outcome of the guilt/innocence phase, especially the speed of the deliberations. "Deliberating for three hours is really not deliberating at all," McKesson said. "I don't believe they carefully considered the evidence from both sides."
Kennedy is the third defendant to be convicted in connection with the Nov. 15, 2004 murders of the Hawkses, who were forced to sign sales documents for their yacht, the Well Deserved, before they were tied to an anchor and thrown overboard somewhere near Santa Catalina Island.Murphy argued that Kennedy was hired at the last minute by mastermind Skylar Deleon to help subdue Thomas Hawks, a 57-year-old former probation officer who was a serious weight lifter.
Deleon, 29, of Long Beach, was convicted last year and is awaiting a likely death sentence on March 20.His former wife, Jennifer Henderson Deleon, 28, was convicted in 2006 and has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for her role in putting the Hawks at ease so they would agree to go on the final cruise with her husband and the menacing-looking Kennedy.Kennedy testified on his own behalf last week and claimed he was not on the yacht, had never actually been to Newport Beach, and had never met Skylar Deleon until both were charged with the murders.But Murphy countered with key witness and co-conspirator Alonso Machain, one of five people charged in the case. Machain, 25, of Pico Rivera, who is cooperating with authorities in hopes of getting leniency later, positively identified Kennedy as the bulky man who agreed to go along on the murderous mission on Nov. 15, 2004, after another gang member backed out at the last minute.Murphy also called Myron Sandora Gardner, Sr., another alleged co-conspirator hoping for leniency later, to the witness stand. Gardner, 45, of Long Beach, said he introduced Kennedy to Deleon on the day of the murders.
The Hawkses retired in 2002 to cruise the seas around California and Mexico aboard the aptly named Well Deserved, a 55-foot trawler. But they decided to sell the yacht in the fall of 2004 to return to Prescott, Ariz., so they could spend more time with a new grandchild.They were surprised when they quickly found what they believed was a serious buyer: Skylar Deleon, a young man with a pregnant wife and infant daughter who claimed he was a successful former child actor who could buy the yacht for cash.But Deleon, who only appeared in two nonspeaking roles in the television show Power Rangers, and his wife were deeply in debt and had no cash or assets to buy the Well Deserved. Instead, Murphy contended during the three trials, Deleon intended to steal the boat, killing the Hawkses in the process.Deleon needed a big guy like Kennedy, Murphy contended, after seeing Thomas Hawks for the first time and realizing that Hawks was a physically fit weightlifter who could put up a fight if cornered.Machain testified during the three trials that Kennedy and Deleon caught Thomas Hawks by surprise below deck. Kennedy, Machain said, got Hawks in a headlock and Deleon used a Taser gun to subdue him. Hawks was then placed in handcuffs.When Thomas Hawks retaliated later after he and his wife were tied to the anchor, delivering a swift back kick into Deleon's groin, Kennedy decked Hawks with a powerful punch to the face, Machain testified.Then Deleon threw the 60-pound anchor overboard, yanking Thomas and Jackie Hawks to their deaths, Machain testified.
Their bodies have never been recovered.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Arrested Camorra boss Ciro Mazzarella in the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic

Arrested Camorra boss Ciro Mazzarella in the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic. He was listed among the Italian government's 100 most dangerous fugitives.Mazzarella fled to Columbia from Italy in 2006, before moving to Costa Rica and then to the city of Santo Domingo, where he allegedly continued to coordinate various Camorra activities.Money raked in by Italy's Mafia surged to 130 billion euros last year, a 40 percent increase on 2007, Italian research institute Eurispes reported last month.
Drug trafficking remains the primary source of revenue, bringing in about 59 billion euros, while arms sales earned the Mafia 5.8 billion euros. Organised crime groups draw off 92 billion euros of untaxed revenue or about 6 percent of Italy's GDP each year from Italian businesses, through protection payments, usury and other forms of extortion, Eurispes said.Italian authorities confiscated 5.2 billion euros in assets from the Mafia in 2008 - including 2.9 billion euros from the Camorra, 231 million euros from 'Ndrangheta and 1.4 billion euros from the Sicilian Mafia.

Arrested a tattooist suspected of killing a German woman found dead on a beach

Thiwat: Accused of strangling German
Arrested a tattooist suspected of killing a German woman found dead on a beach on Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province.The half-naked body of Astrid Al Assaad-Schachner, 45, was found on Sunday morning on Ban Wok Nai beach. She was wearing only a pair of jeans.Police assumed she might have been strangled. There was no trace of sexual assault. A wallet with 690 baht cash and a passport were left near the body, which was about 300 metres from a pier.Pol Col Charoon Uchupap, a superintendent at Koh Phangan police station, said Mrs Assaad-Schachner arrived in Koh Phangan on Dec 10 last year and rented a house.It was her second visit to Koh Phangan. Her first visit was in 2007 when she spent four months on the island.
On Saturday night witnesses saw the woman drinking beer at a bar about a kilometre from where her body was found. She left the bar at 10pm. Witnesses told a joint investigation team of Koh Phangan and CSD police that Mrs Assaad-Schachner was last seen with tattooist Thiwat Kasempok, 29.After he was arrested, Mr Thiwat admitted to strangling the woman as he had been outraged that she had told other tourists he was attracted to her and had tried to rape her.Mr Thiwat said it was her who had approached him, but he was not interested in her. Mr Thiwat insisted he had not raped the woman, said Pol Lt-Col Jom Singnoi of the CSD.Koh Phangan is famous among international tourists for its full moon parties.

Drugbust on Prague underground scene

Drugbust on Prague underground scene, and it is a third cocaine bust in about 40 days. Police officers from the national anti-drug central (NPC) have seized three members of an organized gang who were producing and selling cocaine in Prague. One of them was caught when he was selling 300g right in front of a MC Donald’s premise. According to the recently published report of Prague criminality cocaine became a common drug, but we somehow didn’t realize how common until we read almost every two weeks about dealers being busted. According to a doctor from Prague centre Drop-In Jiri Presl the increasing popularity of this deadly substance returns Prague to its First-Republic reputation – “Prague used to be famous for cocaine.”

Monday, 9 February 2009

Drug traffickers brought cocaine in by air in suitcases handcrafted for that purpose and with a special system of concealment and transportation.

Thirteen people, mostly of South American origin, have been arrested in the dismantling of a drug-trafficking organization that had been operating in several Spanish provinces.In the so-called Operation Alvagar, the Civil Guard seized almost 10 kilos (22 pounds) of high-purity cocaine that on the black market could have provided 400,000 doses, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.The group basically operated in Madrid and Catalonia, although it moved easily throughout all of Spain and used as its center of operations a house in the central city of Toledo.The organization's kingpin, according to the ministry, is also accused of conspiring to murder, since he was planning to call on hired killers to settle a number of scores.
Thanks to the cooperation of Ecuador's National Police, it was discovered that the gang leader lived in Spain under a false identity and that he had a long record in his country for holdups, illicit bearing of arms and four murders, three of them attempted murders.Through the use of hired gunmen he was planning the deaths of three people of the same family, one of them his previous partner.
The agents charged with dismantling the group spoke of the "complications, compartmentalization and complexity" of the operations the criminal organization carried out.The drug traffickers brought cocaine in by air in suitcases handcrafted for that purpose and with a special system of concealment and transportation.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Brett Stevens arrested in a major drug bust

“A year-long operation targeting trafficking, manufacturing and large-scale distribution of illicit drugs culminated today with police storming 15 properties in South-East Queensland.Five people, including a 44-year-old Narangba man believed to be a prominent member of the Gold Coast drag-racing fraternity, were arrested.
The man was charged with producing the drug MDMA, growing cannabis and supplying amphetamines.Police also seized an estimated $6.1 million worth of cash and property, including six high-performance cars and five motorcycles. All the vehicles were seized from a property near Yatala, south of Brisbane.The raids were the third stage of Operation Golf Brazen, a joint investigation of the Queensland Police Service, Australian Crime Commission and the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission.Today, police seized four pill presses worth about $40,000 on the black market and capable of procuding 1000 pills per minute.They also found three hydroponic set-ups, 1825 MDMA (ecstasy) tablets, 80 grams of cocaine and $1 million in cash.Search warrants were executed on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and one in NSW.Since the operation began 12 months ago, 45 people have been arrested on 150 charges.ACC chief executive Alastair Milroy said the operation had made a dent in a crime syndicate operating across three states, which also included Western Australia.“We believe the drugs were predominantly distributed on the eastern seaboard of Australia,” he said. “We are very pleased to have dismantled this network.”The CMC used its star chamber powers to elicit information from persons of interest, said acting Chief Superintendent Ian Parsons.“Our investigators have provided crucial expertise in identifying assets bought with the proceeds of crime.”
The 44-year-old man was due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court today.”

Monday, 2 February 2009

Emeliano Venenoso, 33, who may have escaped arrest but was ambushed by still unidentified men who shot him and his common law wife Cristy several time

Following two separate police operations, the suspects in the robbery of an Australian national, shooting of businessman Ernesto Dy, and other previous hold ups in Bacong, Dauin and Dumaguete were arrested, Tuesday. They are believed to be members of the so-called Martisan gang which victimizes beach goers and dating couples. But one of their alleged accomplices was severely injured after he was ambushed on Wednesday night by still unidentified gun men near his house in Banilad, Bacong which also resulted to the death of his common law wife. Two of their remaining cohorts are still being pursued by authorities.First to fall was Mario Dindo Tabanag, 34, a resident of Sitio Lawigan, Brgy. Sacsac, Bacong after Vanessa Vidgen the wife of the Australian National, Douglas Vidgen positively identified him as one of those who robbed them a few days earlier.Seized from Tabanag were one .22 caliber hand gun and several pieces of jewelry. He implicated Danilo Celestial, alias Enteng, 27, as the mastermind and was later arrested by joint PNP elements from Bacong, Dauin and Dumaguete inside his residence in Purok Santan, Brgy. Taclobo, Dumaguete City Celestial yielded one caliber 38 revolver snubnose with four live ammunitions, one white plastic container with marijuana leaves, 3 cellular phones, 2 chargers, one pair pearl earrings, hairclip, ring, Australian coins and one coin purse. The two have been charged appropriately before the prosecutor’s office.Not so lucky was alleged gang member Emeliano Venenoso, 33, who may have escaped arrest but was ambushed by still unidentified men who shot him and his common law wife Cristy several times before fleeing. Venenoso who was hit in different parts of his body survived but Cristy was declared dead on arrival at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital.

Craig Johnson, assets in Dubai may be even more valuable than those already seized in the UK, which totalled more than £6 million (Dh31.5m).

Craig Johnson, 35, was sentenced in 2006 to 12 and a half years in prison, although British reporting restrictions prevented details of his case from being made public until now. After accomplices of Johnson were imprisoned in September, the true picture emerged of the outwardly respectable businessman.Investigators say they believe Johnson’s assets in Dubai may be even more valuable than those already seized in the UK, which totalled more than £6 million (Dh31.5m).Customs officials in the UK seized Johnson’s helicopter, yacht, luxury cars and mansion, all of which were found to have been purchased with the proceeds of crime. At one point, Johnson owned several properties across Dubai, as well as a luxury car dealership and a professional racing team.“It is fair to say that, as extravagant a lifestyle as Johnson lived in the UK, we firmly believe the lifestyle he lived out here in Dubai was as extravagant, if not more so,” said Euan Stewart, criminal investigations director with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK.Investigations into other assets are continuing, with officers keen to establish whether any of his properties in the UAE were, in fact, bought legitimately. Although there is an extradition treaty in place between the UAE and the UK, there is no formal process for recovering the proceeds of crime. Investigators are hopeful, however, of recovering millions of pounds that Johnson has been ordered to repay the British government.
The court records show that Johnson was part of a gang that imported and exported mobile phones between companies owned by gang members, with value added tax (VAT) being kept illegally at every stage of the proceedings. The profits of the VAT fraud were then filtered through a series of bank accounts and business transactions.

The phones were imported – at least on paper – VAT-free from various EU countries. In many instances the phones did not even exist. The paperwork showed they had been sold on more cheaply, but with VAT added, through a chain of companies known as “buffers”. Sham invoices were issued.Once the goods had been sold a number of times they would be re-exported via a corrupt freight forwarding company. The exporter would then claim a credit from the British customs department for the VAT paid on the purchase of the phones, and the company that “imported” them would disappear when its VAT bill was due to be paid.While the fraud was being carried out, Johnson boasted of owning a major car dealership in Dubai. Company records show that Johnson still owns a 12-per-cent share in the dealership, and an employee said he believed Johnson was still owner. No one else at the company would respond to questions about Johnson.In 2002, Johnson spent £1.75m to establish a Dubai rallying team, Protrak World Motorsport Management, and competed twice in the Middle East Rally Championship. But when he was detained in the UK in 2003 and his string of investments unravelled around him, his workers, mostly from the UK, found themselves abandoned in Dubai. The team disbanded soon afterward, and most of the staff have left Dubai.Drivers, staff and management who worked for Protrak all declined to be interviewed for this article.An associate of Johnson’s in Dubai said: “He had private jets and helicopters and whatnot and there are not many expats who have that. Back then, four or five years ago, it was a smaller community, and the big fish seemed even bigger back then.” He said most people in Dubai had “no idea” about the extent of Johnson’s fraud, and that rumours of Johnson’s imprisonment emanating from the UK had reached only a few people Johnson knew in Dubai.In June 2006, Johnson was one of seven men imprisoned in the VAT scam after an eight-month case at Birmingham Crown Court. The scam cost the UK government £68 million (Dh359m) and led to a five-year inquiry by British customs officials. Details of the case emerged only after another VAT fraud case in which Johnson was implicated ended in September.
In November, Wolverhampton Crown Court, which was hearing the HMRC claim for reimbursement, ordered Johnson to pay a further £26m he was found to have made through money laundering, or face another 10 years in prison. He was ordered to pay £8m of that sum within the next year. Mr Stewart said: “This result is down to the excellent co-operation we had from the UAE on a federal level and, in particular, from the Central Bank.”He also paid tribute to the “landmark work” carried out by diplomatic staff in the UAE on creating an extradition treaty between the UAE and the UK, which will facilitate the investigation of money laundering in the country.
Cameron Walker, a law enforcement co-operation counsellor with the British embassy in Abu Dhabi, welcomed the more general efforts to catch British VAT offenders living in the UAE.“There are elements in the UAE – the ministries, banks and police – who are now working very closely with us and realise the extent of the problem,” he said. “The co-operation of the Central Bank, the police and the Government has been tremendous when you consider it is not a UAE problem.”


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