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 V.13 No.8 | February 19 - 25, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Taiwan—A 57-year-old motorcyclist was struck in the head with more than 20 million in Taiwanese dollars as he passed under a highway bridge in a Taipei suburb. The cash, bound up in two plastic garbage bags, had been tossed off the overpass by the relatives of a kidnap victim, just as the kidnappers had instructed. According to the United Daily News, the bags knocked out 57-year-old Lu Fang-nan who was on his way home at the time. The bags were immediately picked up by the kidnappers, who were waiting nearby. Lu regained consciousness a few minutes later and was hospitalized with bruises and a swollen leg. He did not realize that he had been cold-cocked by flying cash (worth some 600,000 in U.S. dollars) until television reported the kidnapped businessman's safe return and the delivery site of the ransom payment. “What does this have to do with me? Why did I get hit? I'm certainly unlucky enough,” United Daily quoted Lu as saying.

Dateline: Italy—According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, a patient who had her breasts enlarged with the biggest silicone implants available is now wanted by police after skipping out on her $9,500 plastic surgery bill. Police in Rome say they have few leads since the woman used a false name at the exclusive private hospital where the surgery was performed. Officers are relying on a photograph and the woman's unusually large bust size to locate her. The woman apparently escaped from the hospital without paying her bill a day after the surgery, which doubled the size of her breasts. “Unfortunately, this kind of fraud isn't unusual,” the woman's plastic surgeon, Jamal Salhi, told Corriere della Sera.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Australia—A man attacked by a small shark while snorkeling swam 300 meters back to the shore, walked to his car and drove to a local surf club to get help with the animal still attached to his leg. Luke Tresoglavic, 22, was bitten last Tuesday by the two-foot wobbegong, or carpet shark, while in the water off Caves Beach, south of Newcastle. “Once I got to shore, a couple of people tried to help me but I could not remove it. It was stuck there,” Mr. Tresoglavic told ABC radio. “I got in my car and then drove to the clubhouse and luckily the guys there had a clue what to do.” Senior lifeguard Michael Jones could hardly believe his eyes when Tresoglavic walked in. “The first thing we knew of it was a bloke lobbed up her at the lifeguard tower with a shark attached to his leg,” Jones said. “He basically asked the question, ’Can you help me get it off?' There's basically nothing in our procedure manual for that type of thing.” Lifeguards eventually grabbed hold of the shark and flushed its gills with fresh water until it loosened its grip on Tresoglavic's leg. The unlucky swimmer was treated at a nearby hospital for 70 needle-like puncture wounds.

Dateline: France—A 35-year-old Frenchwoman became both bride and widow when she married her dead fiancé. Christelle Demichel wore a somber black suit during the ceremony, which took place at Nice City Hall on the French Riviera. The groom, a former policeman killed by a drunk driver in 2002, was not in attendance. Demichel told LCI television that, even though it “could seem shocking to marry someone who is dead,” her fiancé's death had not dimmed her feelings for him. Under French law, a marriage between a living person and a dead person can take place as long as preliminary civic formalities have been completed that show the couple had planned to marry. Before the ceremony can take place, it must be approved by the French president.

Dateline: Virginia—A woman who has been arrested for repeatedly trespassing at a Woodbridge, Va., car dealership insists that God has sent her to the lot to pick up a free car. Marilyn Cole, 40, appeared in Prince William County General District Court last Tuesday. Although she's been ordered to stay away from the dealership, the woman insists that God's authority is higher than man's. Two employees of the dealership say Ms. Cole has come to the dealership four times in the past two months requesting her free vehicle and refusing to leave. They say the woman was polite and didn't appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The judge found Cole guilty of three counts of trespassing. A mental health evaluation has been ordered before the woman is sentenced next month.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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