ASIA NEWS BITES: 141 Arrested for ‘Gay Sex Party’ in Indonesia; Thailand Bomb Blast; China Locks Up Japanese ‘Spies’

ASIA NEWS BITES: 141 Arrested for ‘Gay Sex Party’ in Indonesia; Thailand Bomb Blast; China Locks Up Japanese ‘Spies’
Photo Credit: AP / 達志影像

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.


Monday's blast at Phramongkutklao Hospital was heavily denounced while authorities said they believe it was linked to two previous explosions in Bangkok over the past two months. It comes as the government marked its third anniversary in power after the May 22, 2014, coup. 25 hurt in explosion at army facility on anniversary of coup; unknown network blamed for 2 other similar attacks. - The Bangkok Post

Several people have died after an explosion Monday night at a concert by Thailand-bound Ariana Grande in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. Unconfirmed reports said the death toll had reached 20. - The Bangkok Post


The Chinese government has the obligation to defend its national security and the legal authority to protect China’s interests, a government spokeswoman said on Monday, the first official response to a New York Times report on the dismantling of C.I.A. espionage operations in China. - The New York Times

A string of reported cases of torture and degrading punishment of rights lawyers and prisoners of conscience continues to emerge from Chinese jails and detention centers. - Radio Free Asia

Chinese researchers have announced a potential solution to the problem of overly pale robotic ‘skin’ - the world’s first colour self-healing hydrogel. - South China Morning Post


The general committee of the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday ruled that a proposal on inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer will not be included on the conference's provisional agenda due to China's strong opposition. - Central News Agency

Taiwan is not under China’s political control, the Presidential Office said yesterday in response to China’s blocking of Taiwan from attending this year’s World Heath Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. - The Taipei Times


Chinese authorities have put six Japanese men into detention since March, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed Monday amid growing speculation they are being held for suspected espionage. - The Japan Times

A man arrested last week in Osaka for alleged obstruction of public duty is likely an ultra-leftist terrorist who has been on a wanted list for 45 years, investigative sources said Tuesday. - The Japan Times

Hong Kong:

Supporters of democracy movements in China flew kites at Sai Kung on Sunday to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. - Hong Kong Free Press

North Korea:

South Korean defense officials said on Monday that the missile the North launched on Sunday was a medium-range ballistic missile that cannot fly far enough to strike American military bases in Guam, as analysts had feared. - The New York Times

South Korea:

A Seoul court began the historic trial of former President Park Geun-hye Tuesday over a string of corruption allegations. - The Korea Times

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg proposed a meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in a congratulation e-mail, according to Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday. - The Korea Times


The police in Indonesia have arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital on suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. - The New York Times

Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and his legal team decided at the last minute on Monday (22/05) not to proceed with an appeal against his blasphemy conviction. - The Jarkata Globe


About 600 residents of the deep-water port town of Kyaukphyu in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Monday protested against Chinese oil tankers moving into the area, as the operation of a long-delayed and controversial U.S. $1.5-billion pipeline gets under way. - Radio Free Asia

Thousands of ethnic Lisu in Myitkyina, the capital of northern Myanmar’s Kachin state, protested on Monday against an ethnic armed group for violating human rights by indiscriminately arresting and killing civilians and extorting money from them. - Radio Free Asia


A video has emerged on Vietnamese television of Montagnards making “confessions,” just weeks after a rights group claimed the returned refugees had been forced by the Hanoi government to take part in such interviews. - The Cambodia Daily

The increasing intensity and devastation caused by natural disasters continues to pose an “enormous challenge” to the nation, causing severe losses of assets and human life, and threatens to derail Việt Nam’s development, President Trần Đại Quang said in a letter penned for the 71st celebration of the Traditional Day on Natural Disaster Prevention. - The Vietnam News


The commander-in-chief of the armed forces on Monday ordered all soldiers to defend “public order” and to fight against potential “color revolutions” on June 4 when voters will elect new commune councilors. - The Cambodia Dialy

While Cambodian sex workers are increasingly using condoms with their clients, experts say a reluctance to use protection with their romantic partners may be undermining progress in preventing the spread of HIV. - The Cambodia Daily