Alibi V.28 No.44 • Oct 31-Nov 6, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: China

Six Chinese men were charged with “intentional homicide” after one hired a hitman, who then subcontracted the hit to another hitman, who then subcontracted the hit to another hitman, who then subcontracted the hit to another hitman, who then subcontracted the hit to another hitman. According to CNN, real estate developer Tan Youhui contacted Xi Guangan—an alleged hitman—in 2013 about killing a business rival. Authorities say Xi was paid two million Chinese yuan ($282,600) to complete the task, which he accepted. But instead of doing the job himself, he allegedly kept half of the fee and used the second half to hire Mo Tianxiang. Mo reportedly took some of the money that was paid to him and paid 270,000 Chinese yuan ($38,100) upfront to hire Yang Kangsheng, with the promise of another 500,000 Chinese yuan ($70,600) after the deed was finished. Yang then hired yet another man, Yang Guangsheng, with a similar agreement. The second Yang then hired Ling Xiansi to commit the murder for 100,000 yuan ($14,100). It had been around six months since Tan's request and Ling's acceptance of the contract. But Ling reportedly decided against killing the business competitor. He allegedly approached the target and offered to help the man fake his death. The target agreed and allowed Ling to take staged photos of him in which he appeared to be restrained by the “hitman.” Ling reported the “hit” to Tan, but the target reported the incident to police. All six men were arrested. All five hitmen were sentenced to between two to four years in prison while Tan was sentenced to five years.

Dateline: Bangladesh

A Bangladesh Member of Parliament was expelled from her university after authorities discovered that she'd hired eight lookalikes to take 13 exams in her place. BBC News reports that Tamanna Nusrat was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Bangladesh Open University. Over the course of four terms, the MP for the Awami League was supposed to have taken 13 exams, but investigators says lookalikes took the tests instead. College officials became aware of the situation when a local television crew from Nagorik TV stormed into a classroom at the Narsingdi Government College center where the leader was reportedly taking a test. They confronted a woman who was not Nusrat but was taking her exam. The station claims Nusrat hired eight different proxies to take the exams in her place and sent security guards to protect them. A college official reportedly said, “The proxy students were protected by the MP’s musclemen when they sat for the tests. Everybody knew it but nobody uttered a word because she is from a very influential family.” University head MA Mannan told reporters: “We expelled her because she has committed a crime. A crime is a crime. We have cancelled her enrolment. She will never be able to get admitted here again.”

Dateline: France

Scientists have developed a phone case made of a material that feel and reacts like human skin, making it ticklish. According to New Scientist, a team from Telecom Paris in France have created an artificial skin that can detect a number of physical interactions and gestures that mimic human emotional communication, including pinching, tickling, squeezing and tapping. The skin is programmed to associate different interactions with different emotions. Tapping is associated with attention. Squeezing is associated with anger. Stroking is associated with comfort. The artificial skin is made up of three layers: two made of silicone and a layer of flexible copper wire between them. When pressure is applied, the electric charge of the system changes. The team says the case can make interfacing with one's phone easier and more intuitive by simplifying keyboard and navigation functions. Two prototypes were developed: One was given a realistic, human-like skin while the other was made to resemble a typical phone case.

Dateline: India

In an attempt to curb cheating, students at an Indian college were made to wear boxes over their heads. The Times of India reports that first-year science students at Bhagath PU College took their midterm exam while wearing cardboard boxes over their heads. The boxes had holes cut out in front so the students would be able to see. Video and photos of the incident went viral on social media earlier this month, prompting officials in the education department to order educators to discontinue the practice. A notice from the PU Board calling the act an “inhuman idea in the examination hall” was sent to college management. But a director at the college, MB Sateesh, reportedly said, “We implemented this idea to curb malpractice and not to harass students. This is just an experiment. We discussed it with students and took their consent before implementing it.” Sateesh stated that the school will comply with the order and discontinue the use of cardboard boxes. SC Peerjade, Deputy Director of the PU Board, said he is considering disciplinary action against college management. Exam malpractice is reportedly a serious issue in India, where students have gone to great lengths—even using electronic devices and hidden earpieces—to cheat.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.