Some Tuesday ASEAN links:
After multiple deviations from his heroic namesake, Singaporean courts have sentenced “Batman” to more than two and a half years in prison on multiple counts of theft and trespassing. The 23-year-old man, whose full name is Batman Bin Suparman, was found guilty of three out of 10 charges, which also included illegal drug use.
The prosecution said that Batman broke into a billiard hall last August, stealing approximately $160. He also lifted his brother’s ATM card, making multiple withdrawals totaling more than $680.
“During sentencing, the court heard that Batman is a first offender and a young one at that,” said Channel NewsAsia of the relatively lenient sentence. “For housebreaking, he could have been jailed [up to] 14 years.”
Off the western coast of Malaysia, theft on a much larger scale has reportedly occurred, with pirates apparently hijacking their second oil tanker in a month. The attack took place about seven miles from Malaysia’s Pulau Kukup in the Strait of Malacca – the epicenter of oil trading and transportation in Asia.
Armed with guns and knives, the group of 10 pirates forced the tanker’s crew to transfer oil to a separate vessel. There have been no reported casualties.
“[The Strait of Malacca] is the shortest sea route between the Middle East and Asia with about 15.2 million barrels of oil a day transported along the waterway in 2011,” said The Bangkok Post, adding that there have been 206 reported cases of piracy globally this year.
In October of last year, pirates hijacked a different transportation ship near Malaysia’s Pulau Aur. After stealing its cargo, the boat was abandoned at sea.
The International Maritime Bureau reported that armed robbery attacks are increasing in the region, especially around Indonesia.
Over on the Thai-Cambodian border, tensions were high as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to rule on the ownership of sacred grounds that are claimed by both countries. Leaders in both countries asked their citizens to remain calm regardless of the ICJ verdict.
Some Cambodian residents were hunkering down in bunkers and more than 40 schools were closed on the Thai side.
“At least 28 people have been killed in outbreaks of violence since 2011 over who owns a patch of land adjacent to the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple,” said AFP. “Thailand does not dispute Cambodia's ownership of the temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, but both sides claim an adjacent 4.6-square-kilometer (1.8-square-mile) section of land.”
Finally, in the storm-ravaged Philippines, government officials in the hardest-hit city of Tacloban have called upon President Benigno Aquino III to declare martial law – something he has so far opposed.
The Vice Mayor of Tacloban said that martial law would “prevent anarchy” in the devastated city, where many residents have turned to looting food, milk, and anything that might be tradable for something useful.
Additional reports claimed that gunshots were fired near Tacloban City Hall after a group of prisoners attempted to escape.