Nine of 10 male sex workers who were shot in the head in an attack on a gay massage parlor and escort service in Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 20 have died.
Police believe the killings are connected to gangs and drugs but the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project urged investigators not to dismiss the possibility of a hate crime.
'We have been very concerned about threats issued by various fringe groups in society over recent months that indicated an intention to perpetrate acts of violence against lesbian and gay people,' said LGEP's Evert Knoesen.
The victims were tied up and shot at close range, and their throats were slit. Six died on the spot and three died later in hospitals.
Police want to question four white men who were driving an old white three-series BMW with Johannesburg plates.
According to the South African Press Association, one of the men has a tattoo of a curled-up snake on his upper arm and the words 'fast gun' tattooed on his right wrist. He has bleached reddish hair and a goatee. The second man is skinny and fair, and sniffs frequently. The third man has a weightlifter build and a shaved head. The fourth man also was described as well-built.
COLOMBIAN GAY BILL SPONSOR SHOT AT
The lead sponsor of Colombia's civil-unions bill says she survived an assassination attempt Jan. 20 in Medellín.
'When I was stepping out of my car, four men on two motorcycles shot at us but, fortunately, we were able to survive after my driver was able to run over one of the assailants,' Senator Piedad Córdoba told local media.
She said she is a target because she fights for gays, blacks and indigenous peoples and is a vocal opponent of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez.
'This is a way to silence the opposition,' she said. 'Those of us who are against the president are automatically accused of being guerrillas. I have even had insults shouted at me in airports.'
In 1999, Córdoba was held hostage for 15 days by Carlos Castaño of the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, after which she spent time in exile in Canada.
VATICAN REJECTS SEX CHANGES
Sex-change operations do not change a person's gender, the Vatican has declared, according to a Jan. 14 report on CathNews.com .
The Vatican document—which was first sent secretly to each country's papal representative then later sent to the president of each nation's bishops conference—instructs bishops and priests to never change a Catholic's gender on his or her baptismal record.
Transsexuals can never get married, be ordained to the priesthood or enter a religious order based on their post-surgery gender, the church's doctrinal congregation ruled.