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Folklaw 29 September 2006

Folklaw 29 September 2006

Standing guard for the EmperorThe world famous terracotta warrior museum in China gained an extra guard when a German art student disguised himself as one of the soldiers, outsmarting…

Standing guard for the Emperor

The world famous terracotta warrior museum in China gained an extra guard when a German art student disguised himself as one of the soldiers, outsmarting police.

According to state media outlet Xinhua, Pablo Wendel smuggled himself among the 8,099 life-size terracotta figures of warriors and horses with the aid of his purpose-built costume, terracotta-coloured makeup and long moustache.

The 26-year-old student, based in the eastern Hangzhou city, hid from police who had trouble locating him among his 2,200-year-old comrades. When he finally was discovered, he refused to leave, and had to be carried out of the museum as if he were a log, the news agency said.

Wendel told police he had been obsessed with the warriors from an early age. “I have always dreamed of disguising myself as a terracotta warrior among the real ones,” he was reported as saying in Xinhua.

Having caused no damage, he was not arrested, but instead received stern “criticism and education”, the news agency said.

The warriors, unearthed in 1974 near Xi’an, Shaanxi province, were originally built to guard the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang, the man who united China over 2,200 years ago.

Sir, your wife looks like a goat

Folklaw readers who had the good fortune to see the recent Company B Belvoir’s production of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? should enjoy the story of a Sudanese man who was forced to marry the very same creature.

The owner of the goat, Alifi, of Hai Malakal in the Upper Nile State of Sudan, was awoken late one night to the sound of suspicious cries coming from outside his home. When he went to investigate, he interrupted a local by the name of Tombe apparently grappling with his goat, the Juba Post newspaper reported.

At first, Alifi couldn’t work out exactly what was going on amongst his livestock.

“When I asked him: ‘What are you doing there?’, he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up,” Alifi said.

The goat’s owner was so outraged he marched the husband-to-be straight off to a council of elders, so that they could make a ruling on Tombe’s offensive conduct.

“They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife,” an aggrieved Alifi told the Sudanese newspaper.

The council of elders decided it was only fair and right that Tombe give to the ‘father of the bride’, Alifi, 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($94.08) in order to pay for his new ‘bride’.

“We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together,” Alifi said.

Folklaw wishes the happy couple all the best for their future together.

You can run Except you cant

California Highway Patrolmen (CHP) made the easiest arrest ever when a fleeing man was apprehended by his own pants.

Having been pulled over at a traffic stop in Salinas, California, Johnny Camel, 37, made a break for it only to have his oversized pants fall to his ankles, tripping him over. Camel’s humiliation was made all the worse by the fact that he wasn’t wearing any underwear at the time.

Apparently the comical incident is becoming increasingly common in California.

“They can’t run and hold their pants up at the same time,” CHP spokesman, Officer Larry Starkey said of those he often encountered in foot pursuits. “I think it’s hilarious.”

The unfortunate thing for Camel was that he, as the passenger, wasn’t even the focus of police — they had stopped his friend’s car after it made an illegal U-turn. But being on parole after recently getting out of prison, a conviction for resisting arrest could see Camel going back behind bars, Starkey said.

“It was weird. He should have never run,” the CHP spokesman said. “It wouldn’t have been anything; he was just afraid.”

Russias red light district

A survey has unearthed more reasons to be fearful on the road in Russia.

The Eastern European nation was declared to be populated by the continent’s worst drivers, with 25 per cent of respondents confessing to having had sex while driving, said a KRC Research and Goodyear survey.

Russians were also more likely to not use seatbelts, exceed speed limits, ignore red lights, drive while drunk and have sex while driving more than citizens of 14 other European countries, Delovoi Peterburg newspaper said.

Up to 36 per cent of Russian drivers polled admitted to regularly breaking the speed limit, along with a fondness for talking on their mobile phones. Another 30 percent of Russian drivers have admitted to have driven while drunk.

Running on empty in Russia

Luckless car thief Alexei Ashurin was nabbed by Moscow police who stopped to help him push his car from the road after it ran out of petrol.

Making his getaway in peak-hour Moscow traffic, Ashurin’s stolen Volkswagen ran dry at about 9am near Tsaritsino Park in southern Moscow. When traffic police stopped to help him push the car from the motorway, Ashurin’s luck went from bad to worse, police spokesman Valery Buzovkin told The Moscow Times.

“The officers helped him push the car off to the side of the road to clear the way for cars behind him, but then they noticed that something was fishy,” Buzovkin said. “There was a screwdriver sticking out of the ignition, and the lock on the door had been damaged.”

Already carry convictions for car theft and drug possession, a teary Ashurin was too deflated to try and talk his way out of the situation, Buzovkin said. And this was not the first time Ashurin had made a meal of stealing cars. He confessed to police that his previous conviction had followed an attempt to nick a car from an auto repair shop.

“The owner of the car left it at the shop to get the brakes repaired, and [Ashurin] stole it from the lot,” Buzovkin said. “But the brakes had not been repaired yet, and when he tried to stop at a red light, he went through the intersection and slammed into a Jeep.”

Ashurin said that on another occasion, he passed out drunk behind the wheel of a car he had just stolen, before having to ditch it after getting into an accident, Buzovkin said.

Folklaw thinks it may be time for Ashurin to consider a career change.

Computer says go to jail

Barristers who suspect judges give automated responses when they hand down their decisions should be thankful they don’t appear before the Zichuan District People’s Court in China.

The court has been accused of “laziness” for its reliance on a computer program to decide prison sentences in more than 1,500 criminal cases, the South China Morning Post said.

Chief Judge of the Court, Wang Hongmei, said “the software can avoid abuse of discretionary power of judges as a result of corruption or insufficient training”.

The software was created by a Chinese company to handle around 100 crimes, from rape, murder and robbery, to crimes against the state. All the judge needs to do is input the case particulars and the computer delivers a sentence.

“The software is aimed at ensuring standardised decisions on prison terms,” software developer, Qin Ye, told the newspaper. “Our programs set standard terms for any subtle distinctions in different cases of the same crime.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Folklaw 29 September 2006
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