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North Korean Threats Increase; Costa Rican Criminals use Fake Guns; Fake Lawyer Fooled World Dictators

Aired March 29, 2013 - 12:30   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: He wanted to tax big-earners, those making more than a million euros, 75 percent.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And because there was such an outcry over this, the parliament rejected that, flat-out, but the president is now trying to get around that.

Rather than tax the people directly, he wants to impose a 75 percent tax on the companies that pay those big-earners.

Parliament has to vote on that proposal as well.

And in North Korea, rockets aimed at U.S. targets have been ordered to be put on stand by to respond to any provocation but the United States.

HOLMES: North Korean warning any strike against the U.S. would be, in their word, merciless and include hits on the U.S. mainland, something the U.S. says probably isn't even possible.

This, of course, just the latest in a series of threats leader Kim Jong-un has made this week.

MALVEAUX: And much of this being viewed as a direct response to what has been taking place, joint military exercises with the U.S. staging with South Korea.

Joining us from Denver, Christopher Hill, he's a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, also headed up the delegation with the six- party nuclear talks with North Korea from 2005 to 2009.

Chris, first of all, we'll get to the six-party talks because I'm curious whether or not they're completely dead.

But what do we know about how North Korea is threatening the United States now. In your experience, do you think that this is any more dangerous than what we have seen previously?

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: Well, I think, first of all, this bluster has been at a higher decibel-level than any time before. It's also been prolonged, so it's not something that we should be ignoring.

That said, I'm not so sure that a sort of threatened missile war with us is all that real. The real concern, I think, is whether they will eventually do something with South Korea.

And there, I think, it is extremely important that the U.S. make clear to the North Koreans and reassure the South Koreans that an attack on South Korea is an attack on the United States and we would be very much involved in the defense of South Korea.

HOLMES: Yeah, his father and grandfather used similar rhetoric. This is his first go-around. This guy's just, I think, 30-years-old, from best guess.

You think the youth is showing a bit? You look at how star-struck he was with Dennis Rodman and the like.

What is your sense of whether he is actually the guy who's pulling the strings here?

HILL: Well, he is certainly a not-ready-for-primetime player. I don't think he has a clue about most of the things he does.

He has a regent, Jang Sung-taek, who, I think, has kind of helped him through things, but I think the real story of North Korea is what they say it is, which is military-first.

I think the military basically runs the country and I think he is a bit of a figurehead, and they are trying to market him to a kind of skeptical North Korean public.

After all, this is a society that respects older people, not 30- somethings, and so, in trying to market him, they are trying to portray him as a tough, wartime leader.

MALVEAUX: And, Chris, you dealt with his father for many years, these six-party talks.

Is there any sense in trying to reach out to him, to the son here, and say, you know, we would like to talk again? We would like to settle some sort of compromise or something dealing with their nuclear ambitions and all of your threats?

Would the U.S. benefit from something like that?

HILL: I don't think so. I think the North Koreans certainly know how to get to us. We do have channels that are established.

But I don't think reaching out to Kim Jong-un even with the likes of Dennis Rodman is really going to get us very far.

The issue is not Kim Jong-un. The issue is the system. He's not just doing this on his own. He has a military that's part-and-parcel of this. And, presumably, his regent is involved in this as well.

So I don't think that reaching out to him personally would do anything other than create a sort of propaganda value for the North Koreans.

HOLMES: So it's just -- you can't imagine this guy starting something that he's not going to be able to finish, and he won't be able to finish, really.

What is your sense on what it is then that he wants?

HILL: Well, the only thing that really makes sense in starting something that you clearly cannot finish -- and, by the way, if he started something, he would be finished.

The U.S. and South Koreans are not planning to go through this kind of thing again, so he would really be quite finished.

So the issue is really, is this propaganda blitz for us or is it more for the North Korean people. And I think it is much more for the North Korean people who have a kind of different take on this kind of bluster.

For them to see the bluster one day and then have it shut off the next day is entirely something they're used to and they would accept that and kind of go on with their regular work.

For the rest of us, we go, what? How could this happen? What is he going to do next if he doesn't have a -- if he can't kind of finish this?

But I think in a North Korean context, it is different. And I think we have to understand that a lot of this has to do with the kind of domestic, political, kabuki play that is going on.

MALVEAUX: Chris, I wish we had some more time. I know there are some others that say that you should reach out, believe it or not, to Dennis Rodman, just to get -- pick his brain because the intelligence of Kim Jong-un, we know so little about him.

This is one American who spent a lot of time with this guy. What does he want? What is he like? Reading the tea leaves, if you will.

Chris, we'll talk about that when we ...

HOLMES: I would like to be there for that conversation.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely. It would be fascinating.

HILL: If I could make one other point, though, there has been talk about how the use of U.S. aircraft is a provocation, and I think people need to understand, when you have a real exercise to make sure your planning works, you need all elements of the plan on board. That's air power as well.

HOLMES: And those bombers have been there before, too. That's not their first time there.

HILL: Absolutely.

HOLMES: Yeah. Ambassador, good to see you. Ambassador Christopher Hill, appreciate it.

HILL: Good to see you. MALVEAUX: So these actually look real. They're pretty scary.

This is in Costa Rica. This is robbers who are actually using toy guns.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Going to take you to Costa Rica now where an increasing number of criminals are committing robberies using toy guns.

MALVEAUX: They are not exactly your typical plastic guns. They actually look frighteningly real. Hundreds of them being confiscated from suspects.

Our own Rafael Romo has the story.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: They are made of metal like real guns, they look like real guns, and they can be just as scary when pointed at you.

It is a puzzling new trend in Costa Rica.

WILLIAM HIDALGO, COSTA RICAN SECURITY MINISTRY (via translator): We have noticed that criminals have been robbing people with these kind of weapons.

They use toy guns to intimidate their victims.

ROMO: Police in the Central American countries have confiscated replicas of AK-47 assault rifles and police-issued handgun.

Authorities have destroyed 487 toy guys seized this year. Officials say toy guns are used in about 30 percent of all armed robberies in Costa Rica.

LUIS ABELLAN, COSTA RICAN SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN (via translator): It's a statistic that shows us what we are dealing with.

Although from a practical point of view, it doesn't tell us anything.

You can't risk your life wondering whether the weapon you're being robbed with is real or not.

ROMO: Costa Rica is not the only country where toy guns have become problematic.

Two 11-year-olds got in trouble with the law in the U.S. for allegedly robbing an eight-year-old boy of his cell phone. Police in Michigan say the older boys were using pellet guns that looks just like a rifle that shoots actual bullets.

In Connecticut, lawmakers are working on a bill that would make it illegal to remove the bright red plug in the barrel of a toy gun to make it look more realistic.

CHIERF DARREN STEWART, CONNECTICUT POLICE CHIEFS ASSOCIATION: If we see somebody standing like this pointing a gun, or standing like this pointing a gun, what's the difference?

This is a SIG-Sauer P245, .45-caliber handgun. This is the handgun that I carry. This is a real handgun.

This is a toy. There's not a big difference.

ROMO: After the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a woman in Australia gave her children money to throw out their toy guns, which included replicas of assault rifles.

SAM PAIOR, AUSTRALIAN MOTHER: So they brought them out, and I thought, well, I'll offer them a buyback. Guys, I'll give you five bucks each for each of them.

And my little guy, he was totally all over it. He was saving for an IPod. He's keen as mustard.

ROMO: Back in Costa Rica, these merchants say, from a victim's perspective, it doesn't make any difference if the gun is real or not.

In a real-life scenario, she says, the scare is going to be just same.


MALVEAUX: So Rafael Romo joins us.

So, Rafael, we were talking about all this during the break, but a million questions for you.

First of all, so why are they making these very realistic-looking toy guns? Is there a real market for this? Who's seeking these really ...

ROMO: There is a lot of demand. There's a lot of people who, instead of having the real thing, which is a lot more dangerous and expensive, would rather have a pellet gun that looks exactly the same as the real thing and can scare people away just the same way.

As we have seen in Costa Rica, people, when they get robbed, have no time, and if you add to that the surprise factor -- have really no time of finding out whether the gun is real or not.

And let's face it. In a situation like that, nobody is really going to ask whether the gun is real or not.

MALVEAUX: Right. Right, right.

HOLMES: How did they find out about this, though? Was there something that happened that triggered the knowledge, if you like?

ROMO: The police in Costa Rica started targeting areas where they had a larger than usual number of robberies, and the surprising thing was that some of the suspects had toy guns with them.

And authorities started wondering whether this was an anomaly or not, and then, over the months, it was more and more and more.

So that told authorities that they were dealing with a trend and not just an isolated event.

HOLMES: Is there a way of getting around the law, or do they still get charged with armed robbery, whether it's a toy or not.

ROMO: They still get in trouble. It's still -- a robbery is still something that they are going to spend time in jail with if convicted.


Good to see you, Rafi (ph).

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Rafi (ph).

Under the cover of night, parts of the historic Berlin Wall that were standing were actually removed.

We're going to tell you why, up ahead.


MALVEAUX: Here are stories making news around the world right now. A significant change in the role of U.N. peacekeepers. This is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For the first time, they are being told to now go on the offensive.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, yesterday the Security Council authorized what they're calling an Intervention Brigade. This really is significant. The peacekeepers are now going to be allowed to take military action against armed rebel groups.

MALVEAUX: In the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, officials have made an announcement that's not going well -- very well with the people who are now fed up with the country's banking crisis. They were told that now new rules limiting banking withdrawals are going to be in place for about a month.

HOLMES: Yes, but yesterday, Richard Quest told us this would happen too. Officials said the limits would last a week. Well, now, already, it's a month. And it will probably go longer than that. The rules are designed, of course, to prevent a run on the banks and comply with a massive European Union bailout deal.

MALVEAUX: And here in the United States, a big story. An Oklahoma dentist, he's at the center of a huge HIV and Hepatitis scare. About 7,000 patients of Dr. Scott Harrington's dental practice might have been exposed to possible infections.

HOLMES: Extraordinary. Investigators describing a sickening scene inside the office. Things like rusty instruments, improper sterilization procedures, needles, get this, being reused. Suzanne's going to have more on this next hour.

MALVEAUX: And in Germany, it has been 24 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. And this week, a remaining section of a historic divide was taken down.

HOLMES: Well, protesters demanded that this piece of the wall be preserved as part of history, but it was removed to make way for, guess what, a real estate developer to build luxury apartments.

MALVEAUX: All right, so, Michael, you were -- 24 years ago you were there, right, the night that wall came down?

HOLMES: Makes me feel old. Yes, I was there working for Australian television.

MALVEAUX: We're both feeling old.

HOLMES: We'd moved there from Austria to (INAUDIBLE). Oh, God, look at that. Oh, dear. Yes, that's going back. Yes, that's actually on top of the Brandenburg Gate. We were there and it all opened up and the terbants (ph) started coming through Checkpoint Charlie. These are East German soldiers in no-man's land. On the other side of the wall, which was all white, of course. No painting, no graffiti there. I ended up buying one of those hats (INAUDIBLE) the next day when people started coming through holes in the wall and were given flowers by the West Germans as they were being greeted. These are East German -- West German soldiers there greeting them.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, this attracted worldwide attention. It was just three months after the wall came down, had an opportunity to go. And it was such an amazing scene because it really did kind of turn into a tourist attracts.


MALVEAUX: Pieces of the wall. I just want to show you this one that I actually got here.


MALVEAUX: That was --


MALVEAUX: I mean, you know, they were selling them. Sometimes you could pick them up just along the side of the road. But -- but you would see like --

HOLMES: They learned private enterprise very quickly.

MALVEAUX: Oh, absolutely.

HOLMES: Everything was for sale.

MALVEAUX: You would pose with the guards who were there up against, you know, the wall there. You can see there's an old picture. Kind of my big hair kind of (INAUDIBLE). You can tell that was the '80s for sure.

HOLMES: It was the '80s.

MALVEAUX: But, yes, with the guards.


MALVEAUX: And in front of the wall. I mean it was one of the places where people were able to gather.

HOLMES: it was an amazing story.

MALVEAUX: And it is historic.

MALVEAUX: And people ask me what the biggest story I ever covered was. It was that. Not just because of what happened there, but what it led to. I then ended up covering my first conflict, which was the Iranian Revolution. You had the Chez Revolution. You had unification of East Germany. It changed the world. But, you know, the biggest story in the last 50, 60 years, without a doubt.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Historic. And everybody was trying to get a little piece of that history.

HOLMES: I feel old now. My daughter came home and said she was studying it in history.

MALVEAUX: Oh, history.

HOLMES: Yes. Thanks a lot.

MALVEAUX: We were a part of history.

HOLMES: That's a bit of a worry, isn't it?

MALVEAUX: It is. Well, that's all right. We're getting old.

He defended Saddam Hussein, met with Osama bin Laden, but he was a fraud. That is right. How this fake lawyer fooled even the world's biggest villains.


MALVEAUX: In London, a man who fooled the world's dictators into thinking he was an attorney has been convicted now of being a fake and a fraud.

HOLMES: Apparently pretty good at it. The jury found, though, that Giovanni Di Stefano was not a real lawyer, but he did manage to represent the likes of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic. And he bragged about meetings with Osama bin Laden and Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

MALVEAUX: All right. So "In Session" contributor Joey Jackson here.

You're the real deal, are you not? How do we know, Joey? : Yes, I play one on TV.

HOLMES: Show us your certificate.

MALVEAUX: Come on.

: Hers' my credentials.

MALVEAUX: How does this happen? How does this guy get away with something like this?

: You know, unbelievably, it's easier than you might imagine. In fact, I Googled it for this segment, "fake lawyer," and my, you know, my engine almost broke there were so many things out there. Because what happens is, two things that become important. One is, people are very vulnerable, particularly when they are accused of crimes. So if they come to you and you look the part and you sell what they're buying, right, which is, you know, you're going to get me out of this mess. Then, they'll say, OK, let's do it.

And the other thing is, is when you go to court, Suzanne and Michael, you don't have to produce credentials.

HOLMES: You don't.

MALVEAUX: You don't?

JACKSON: There's nothing at the time that you go into court. It's not like, OK, Mr. Jackson, show me your identification. The clients just do that after, OK.

HOLMES: Really?

JACKSON: Once you don't have successful results in the case, now they want to know all about you. But before that, you know, there's nothing you have to produce. So it's easier than you might imagine.

HOLMES: Have you ever come across attorneys who have faked it?

JACKSON: I would say a lot of people I know have faked it. I'm not talking about you, OK. But -- no. You know, what happens is, is that the bar does, from time to time, you know, they evaluate their continuing legal education courses that you have to do. You have to submit them so that you can be an attorney in good standing. So goodness forbid you do this.

This particular person we're talking about got 14 years. OK. So talk about penalty and crime. But so it's out there. And I would just say, buyer beware. You know, search on your lawyer. Make sure they're legit. Make sure they're doing the right thing because --

MALVEAUX: They just show up.

JACKSON: It's not too -- exactly. They show up and you have someone representing you who's not admitted, it's like going to a doctor, all right? I'm going to do an operation on you. HOLMES: Yes. Yes.

JACKSON: But you're not admitted to practice medicine. You wouldn't get operated on.

MALVEAUX: Joey, we heard in this story, though, that this guy was pretty good.

HOLMES: Yes, that's right.

MALVEAUX: Like they actually selected him over some other real guys, real lawyers, right?

JACKSON: And that's why you can avoid detection, because if you're good at what you do and you have the confidence of the people who you're working for, then they're not app to report you. It's when things go amiss and they say, wait a second, you're not conversing with the real legal terminology that they say, OK, we're going to check into you. And so that's why, check it out, search it out, make sure the person who's standing next to you is the real deal.

HOLMES: Big penalties in the U.S. for trying that?

JACKSON: Oh, absolutely.


JACKSON: It varies by state, Michael. But without question, it's a felony offense when you're practicing law without a license. And so I wouldn't try it.

HOLMES: Yes. I was saying before, I've been faking being a journalist for 35 years.

JACKSON: No, you're the real deal, Michael and Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: I said he's OK. He's all right.

HOLMES: That is amazing. Yes, the most amazing thing being how good he was apparently. So, yes, good -- good to see you, Joey.

JACKSON: Great to see you.

MALVEAUX: Yes, thank you, Joey.

HOLMES: Thanks so much.

JACKSON: Nice to be on with both of you. Happy Friday.

HOLMES: Happy Friday. There you go.

HOLMES: Yes, you too. Exactly.

MALVEAUX: Tracing the steps of Jesus. We're going to show you some photos from around the world as Christians mark Good Friday.


MALVEAUX: Let's take a look at what is trending right now around the world.

In London, this picture was tweeted on Thursday with the claim it was the work of the artist Banksy.

HOLMES: He's an icon (INAUDIBLE). The mural shows Jesus carrying the cross while police fire stun guns and the paparazzi there taking photographs. This popped up near London Bridge overnight, just in time for Easter.

MALVEAUX: But it's actually a fake. A spokesman for the artist confirms it is not Banksy's work.

And it is Good Friday, marking the day of Jesus' crucifixion. Take a look at how some of the Christians around the world are actually celebrating.

HOLMES: Let's go to Spain first. A man stops and prays as he carries a cross. It's roped around his arm and torso. An act of penance for many. Many towns in Spain continue their tradition, which has been passed down since medieval times.

MALVEAUX: And in Indian, Catholics reenact a play about Jesus' journey to be crucified. Christians make up fewer than 3 percent of India's population.

HOLMES: All right, that will do it for me. Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD.

Happy Friday.

MALVEAUX: Happy Friday. It's the weekend.

HOLMES: See you next week.

MALVEAUX: You got it.

HOLMES: Don't disappear.

MALVEAUX: All right. Have a good weekend.

HOLMES: You too.