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Yakuza boss arrested in Thailand

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A Japanese Yakuza boss, who has been on the run for 15 years, has been arrested in Thailand after pictures of his tattoos went viral on Facebook.

Shigeharu Shirai, the yakuza boss, is accused of murdering a rival gang in 2003.

A local person in Thailand unaware of the 74-year old fugitive’s identity took the photographs of the yakuza boss which showed his signature yakuza tattoos.

Yakuza gangs have been part of Japanese society for centuries and have an estimated 60,000 members across the country.

While much of the yakuza gangs’ incomes come from illegal gambling, prostitution, drug trafficking and cyber-hacking, but the yakuza as an organization is not banned in Japan.

The photographs of Mr Shirai’s tattoos went viral which caught the attention of Japanese police who later ordered his arrest.

Thai police arrested him in the town of Lopburi, north of Bangkok, for visa violations and he will soon be extradited to Japan where he will face the murder charges.

According to Thai police, the 74-year old man admitted he was a member of a yakuza gang but did not confess to the 2003 murder.

The Facebook pictures show an old and delicate-looking man with his entire back and most of his chest covered in tattoos playing a board game with his fellow retirees by the side of the road.

The photographs also show that the man is missing part of his little finger, which often is caused by a self-administered punishment for members of Japanese yakuza gangs as reparation for their mistakes.


More details to follow. Image 1 of Shigeharu Shirai from AsiaOne. ■

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University students in Hong Kong protest for democracy

Across the world, a standoff ensues.

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Photo of the university campus seemingly on fire via posts on Twitter.

While post-secondary students in Canada prepare for the start of another week of assignments, tests and lectures, hundreds of their counterparts refused to allow police in Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University on Monday, continuing a days-long protest against a government that they say is bending to the will of communist China.

Student leaders said on social media that pro-government police had carried out severals and reports describe the students pushing the police back from an outer barricade after setting the blockade on fire and throwing petrol bombs at the officers.

Police have surrounded the university campus, trapping the protestors inside after nearly two consecutive days of standoffs between activists and authorities.

A media liason officer was shot in the calf with an arrow from the protestors, heightening tensions to the point that police threatened to use live fire bullets if the “rioters” did not halt their use of lethal weapons. It marks only the latest incident amid unrest in the semi-autonomous Hong Kong, where massive protests have shook the city since July.

Demonstrators are angered by what they allege to be Communist China’s interference in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to Beijing’s rule in 1997. The city has held mostly autonomous political status since the formal turnover, but observers say Beijing is seeking to bring it within its one-party political system.

The protesters at Polytechnic University had blocked Hong Kong’s Cross Harbour Tunnel linking Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula for much of the past week, with authorities aiming to restore the link as defiant and trapped activists stand their ground, reported Reuters news agency.

The occupation by protestors and their activism has similarities to the occupation of the York University Senate chambers in the spring of 2018. Students took over the chamber for several days in support of several demands tied to a faculty strike taking place at the time, among other demands.

However, the stakes are much higher in Hong Kong where as many as 40 injuries have arisen due to the water cannons used by police and three others suffering injuries to their eyes, as reported by The New York Times. ■

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China has been quite busy lately

An opinion from guest writer Nzinga Johnson.

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Nzinga Johnson | Opinion

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

In America, the Left and the Right are constantly laying the smackdown on one another via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.

It’s FOX versus CNN, Cenk Uyger versus Stephen Crowder, Donald Trump versus Pelosi and Schumer, Ben Shapiro versus… Everybody! It’s literally a never-ending soap opera with juicy plots, backstabbings, and sex scandals!

The problem is the infighting that occurs in America is distracting us from a situation that is quickly maturing. China is steadily becoming a heavyweight in the global economy and America may not be fully prepared for it.

The Belt and Road Initiative was announced in 2014 by the President of China, Xi Jinping. Simply put, the Initiative has two parts: (1) The Overland (Belt) “trade route connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia to China.” (2) The “21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to connect China, South East, and South Asia with Africa.”

Essentially, China will cover 71 countries, 25% of the world’s GDP, and 50% of the world’s population according to The Guardian. China intends for those numbers to grow larger.

They reached South America last year and by 2027 China’s estimated spending on infrastructure in these connected countries is $1.3 trillion!

The deals with China are incredibly attractive because “countries get much-needed infrastructure improvements.”

For these developing nations, the Chinese are striking up deals with, their concern is that sooner or later they will be deeply indebted to China. It’s already happened in several countries.

Billions of dollars in loans are given to developing countries by China. Many of these countries are beginning to see that they cannot make payments.

When this happens China strikes up another deal, much like the one they struck with Sri Lanka.

According to the Guardian, in 2017 Sri Lanka “had to grant a 99-year lease on a strategic port to Beijing” when a loan of $1.4 billion dollars couldn’t be paid back. The lease covered the payment.

Clearly, China is playing a long game.

South China Morning Post reported that Mohamed Nasheed, ex-leader of the Maldives, said, “China’s actions in the Indian Ocean amounted to a ‘land grab’ and ‘colonialism’ with 80 per cent of its debt being held by Beijing.

Also, Pakistan is nervous about their inability to pay “the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”

The list goes on…

The Center for Global Development reported that they are “concerned about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight countries receiving Silk Road funds:- Pakistan, Djibouti, the Maldives, Mongolia, Laos, Montenegro, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan.”

African countries were ready and willing to be involved economically with China. The Chinese investment in Africa grew 21.7% between 2010 and 2015; that number is still rising. 

China funded 85 per cent of Ethiopia’s contribution to the Djibouti Railway and 70 per cent of Djibouti’s contribution.

China even owns 10 per cent of Djibouti’s portion.

The Djibouti Railway is very important because it is the first transboundary railway on the African continent. The Chinese are also “responsible for building the Madaraka Express, which connects the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi.”

Beijing is making great investments in countries that are too poor to pay them back. There seems to be something else going on behind the scenes. Is it possible that these countries will be so indebted to China that they have no choice but to comply with every demand and request?

Possible expansion of the Chinese military is most definitely a concern for all Americans.

The Washington Post reported the Chinese saying, “Belt and Road is not for ‘military influence’ or to ‘exert undue political influence’ ”.

But, there still is cause for concern. Xi also assured that the Initiative is “a road for peace”. But, knowing the intricacies of the deals that have been made when indebted countries cannot pay up, it is almost impossible to not look twice into Chinese objectives in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Any American with half a brain knows that China is not to be trusted. It is possible that Xi is being honest about there being no intention for military expansion. However, questioning his intentions is a wise thing to do. 

If not military expansion now, what about the future? If the context of geopolitics changes will the Chinese influence in these 71 countries continue to be peaceful?

If not military expansion, then what? There may or may not be a sinister plot occurring in Beijing, but American infighting will not prepare for whatever may come whether good or bad.

Will China use their economic clout to force countries not to deal with America?

For short-sighted individuals (aka isolationists), it would seem that America has nothing to do with the problems of countries who willingly make deals with China. America does have an invested interest in what is occurring on the other side of the globe. Many questions aren’t answered.

If our leaders are not looking into the matter, they should be.


Image of China from Wikimedia Commons.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.
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Sri Lankra hit with multiple blasts, several killed on Easter Sunday

Several blasts and many killed or injured.

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Eli Ridder | Report

The Asian island country of Sri Lankra was hit with at least six explosions on Sunday in three churches and three hotels, killing over 50 individuals and injuring some 160 in what appears to be a coordinated attack during the Easter celebration marked by Christians worldwide.

The churches of Kochikade, St. Sebastian and Batticaloa as well as hotels Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury were struck. Images and video of the scenes show chaos, bodies and damaged buildings.

At least 80 individuals have been admitted to hospital in the capital Colombo, AFP news agency reported. Local reports have suggested that the number could be much higher, but there has not been an official figure released yet.

Sri Lankan media report that foreign tourists may be among the casualties and the death toll could be higher than is being reported.

No individual or group has yet said they were responsible for the attacks.


Image of Kingsbury Hotel via Pramod Madhav on Twitter.
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