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Judicial CP - July 1996

Corpun file 0098 at

The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1 July 1996

Magazine's $20,000 offer to Cohens obscene -- MP

A reputed $20,000 payout by a New Zealand women's magazine for the exclusive rights to Lorraine and Aaron Cohens' story has been labelled obscene by Christchurch North MP Mike Moore.

The Cohens have refused to comment on their 11-year ordeal in Penang Prison since leaving Malaysia on Saturday.

It is believed they have sold the exclusive rights to their story to a weekly women's magazine and are negotiating book and film rights.

Mr Moore said paying convicted criminals for their stories effectively rewarded them for their crime. He accused the New Zealand media of operating to lower standards than British tabloid newspapers.

In Britain the press has a voluntary ban on paying criminals to stop them profiting from crime.

Mr Moore said legislation in this country to ban the practice of paying criminals for their story would be a last resort. He urged the New Zealand media to regulate itself in the same way the British press had.

"A line should be drawn, but it should be done by the media itself," he said.

Mr Moore said he was not critical of the Government for assisting the Cohens, but they should not profit from the "evil trade" of dealing in heroin.

The Cohens flew business class on a Malaysian Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland. Several members of the press were also on the flight, but the Cohens refused to talk to them. The mother and son were apparently accompanied by a representative from the magazine that bought their story.

They also avoided a crowd of waiting reporters at Auckland Airport by leaving through a side door.

The deputy editor of the New Zealand "Woman's Day", Megan McChesney, said she could not comment on speculation her magazine had secured rights to the story.

blob Previous: 27 June 1996 - Drug-trafficking NZ mother, son pardoned

blob Follow-up: 10 October 1997 - Horror of the lash [Aaron Cohen describes his caning]

Corpun file 0100 at


The Straits Times, Singapore, 8 July 1996

Pahang looking into caning those convicted of religious offences

KUANTAN -- Pahang may introduce whipping for various religious offences as allowed under the Islamic Administration and Pahang Malays Customary Enactment 1982 (Amendment 1987).

The Pahang state government through its Religious and Education Committee chaired by Datuk Adnan Yaakob and the State Islamic Affairs Department is conducting a study on this matter.

Under the enactment, those convicted of illicit sex, immoral activities and deviationist teachings are liable to fines, caning or both.

At present, the Syariah Court in Pahang only imposes fines. Although caning is allowed, it has yet to be enforced as the state government is still studying its procedures and implications, Datuk Adnan said.

"We cannot rush into doing things as such matters are sensitive and can create controversy.

"We have to study, for instance, how caning can be carried out, the thickness and the length of the cane," Datuk Adnan said, after giving away Pahang Foundation scholarships to students at the Kuantan municipal council on Saturday.

He said he had been informed by Mentri Besar Tan Sri Mohd Khalil Yaakob that the matter had to be referred to other mentris besar for discussion.

Once it is approved, it will be brought up to the state legislative assembly for endorsement.

On deviationist teachings in Pahang, Datuk Adnan said that the state government always encouraged the public to attend religious classes so that they would not be influenced or misled easily.

"This problem occurs everywhere. That is why the state government always encourages the people to gain a deeper understanding of the religion." -- NST.

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