NEWS

Acupuncturist nailed for alleged death plot

Just one week after receiving a stiff sentence for fraud and falsely representing himself as a doctor, a celebrity Vietnamese acupuncturist was due to appear in court yesterday for allegedly hiring Russian hitmen to kill his partner. Athens acupuncturist Hoo Chang Tran, 55, was given a seven-year suspended sentence last Thursday after his former patients accused him of being a quack. Hoo, who has been living in Greece for the past 20 years, counted many celebrities among his clientele and claimed to have treated Andreas Papandreou and Constantine Karamanlis. Now, his former partner Leontios Negeftidis, an ethnic Greek from the former Soviet Union, has sued him for allegedly paying Russian killers to murder him. Negeftidis said the hitmen approached him and took 176,000 euros to cancel the contract. The trial was adjourned for February, as Hoo is recovering from a recent heart attack. Athens is trying to deter a military challenge by keeping its cool. But future developments will not depend on Athens alone.