Good ol' rock 'n' roll

There may be a wind of change, but the Scorpions continue their sound from the past that fans are still keen on listening to

ROCKERS: German band Scorpions, comprising (from left) bassist Paweł Maciwoda, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, vocalist Klaus Meine, drummer Micael Delaoglou, and rhythm guitarist Matthias Jabs, celebrating their 50th anniversary with a cake.

Their biggest hits may have come from the 80s and 90s, but German rock band Scorpions are far from fading into the background of the music industry.

And when it comes to the fans, the band said that fanatics are still ever-present in their worldwide circle of supporters.

They described an encounter with one fan during their show in Melbournethree days ago.

"I'm not sure how this guy ended up on stage, but he was rocking out with one of Paweł's (Maciwoda) bass guitars," said the band's newest member and drummer, Micael Delaoglou, 52, at a pre-concert press conference at Hard Rock Cafe in Cuscaden Road yesterday.

"He was on stage for a good long while before the crew got on stage to take him off."

Vocalist Klaus Meine added, laughing: "I didn't know what was happening, but I knew something was going on when I saw the crew on stage. I only saw (what really happened) later on YouTube."

The five-piece band - comprising Delaoglou, Meine, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, rhythm guitarist Matthias Jabs and bassist Maciwoda - arrived in Singapore on Wednesday, ahead of their 50th Anniversary World Tour concert at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight.

This may be the first time Delaoglou, who was recruited earlier this year to replace James Kottak, is on tour with the Scorpions, but even he has already experienced his own fanatic encounters.

Delaoglou, better known as Mikkey Dee, said: "I remember this one time, a fan managed to not only get on stage but get onto the platform where I was playing the drums.

"She came at me with a pair of scissors and I think she wanted to snip my hair when someone pulled her off."

Meine added: "But we still love our fans. It's just that sometimes, they can get a little overexcited."


Despite their already extensive and rich history, the band continue to release music. Their latest, a 12-track album called Return to Forever, was released last year.

When asked how they remain relevant in the sea of new artists in this day and age, Schenker, 68, said: "The sound of music today is more about music design where modern artists use technology.

"We bring some good ol' rock 'n' roll. A sound from the past that people are still (keen) on listening to."

The band revealed that their set list tonight will feature their greatest hits along with their newer tracks.

If there is one thing the hard rocking and hard-working band have proven, it is the fact that age is just a number, especially given that the band, whose members' ages range between 49 and 68, have reached the tail end of their 106-city tour.

Delaoglou said they each have "fitness programmes" they abide by in order to stay healthy.

Schenker said: "We also don't waste our energy arguing or anything like that.

"We're like family and everyone gets along so well, so we don't waste any effort there.

"We spend all the energy we have giving our fans a great show each time we go on stage.

"And for as long as we can do that, we're going to keep doing it."

We spend all the energy we have giving our fans a great show each time we go on stage.

–​ Scorpions' guitarist Rudolf Schenker

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What you should know about illegal wildlife trade

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Illegal wildlife trade linked to terror groups

Illegal wildlife trade used to fund terrorist groups, says anti-trafficking organisation

CONFISCATED: Kenyan rangers piling up confiscated elephant ivory for burning.

The illegal wildlife trade is "big business".

Thousands of protected animals have been slaughtered and their parts turned into rare ornaments, lucky charms, or even "miracle cures".

The New Paper's investigation into this lucrative trade shows that items made from wildlife parts are only advertised for sale online, but they are also smuggled into Singapore by visiting Thai spiritual masters called arjans, who claim the amulets and charms possess "magical powers".

Some experts have even linked the trade to terrorists and organised crime.


Mr Fiachra Kearney, chief executive officer of Global Eye, a counter-trafficking organisation, told TNP: "We live in a truly (global) world where international trade and travel is commonplace...

"The people we tackle are adept at circumventing multiple laws and often hide in the inefficiency of law enforcement in their home countries while conducting serious illegal activities in other nations."

In an undercover operation in Singapore, agents from Global Eye exposed an arjan known on Facebook as Arjan Pheimrung Wanchanna, who boasted that he could smuggle dead tiger cubs, human foetuses, and skull fragments into the Republic.

It is claimed that these charms bring wealth and protection to their owners.

Well-known publications such as Time magazine and The Guardian have reported on the links between animal poaching and terror groups, particularly in Africa.

In August last year, The Guardian reported that National Geographic reporter Bryan Christy had given a fake elephant ivory with an embedded GPS tracking device to traffickers in the Central African Republic.

The fake ivory was tracked north to the headquarters of rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which is headed by Joseph Kony, who has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

It was later passed on to the Sudanese army in exchange for money or weapons, The Guardian reported.


Mr Christy also interviewed an LRA deserter who said that an armed detachment of the LRA was tasked with killing people, and another with killing elephants.

Estimates vary on how much the illegal wildlife trade is worth every year.

The United Nations Environment Programme's May 2016 Illegal Trade in Wildlife Fact Sheet puts the figure at about US$213 billion (S$300 billion) annually. 

Despite some animals being hunted to near extinction, criminal networks still gravitate towards the trade because of the high profits.

Mr Kearney said that the issue should not be viewed solely as a wildlife trafficking problem.

He said: "There are breaches of quarantine, customs and organised crime laws. They may include elements of serious financial crime and, in certain cases, directly compromise national security.

"So it is not enough to consider these actions only as wildlife and human trafficking, but rather as serious and multilayered international crimes that must be treated as such."

The Global Eye probe on Arjan Pheim revealed that he maintains a network across several South-east Asian countries including Singapore.

Arjan Pheim, who is one of many Thai arjans visiting Singapore every year, advertised his business openly on Facebook.

But he will sell highly illegal items such as tiger cubs, human foetuses and fingers only to trusted buyers who are in private chat groups on his WeChat account.

The availability of banned wildlife amulets in Singapore hint at the demand for them, said Mr Kearney.

"The case of this arjan shows there are Singaporeans who buy parts of endangered species and dead human beings," he said.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has employed a multi-pronged approach in tackling the illegal wildlife trade.

Some measures include working closely with administrators of online forums to post warnings about the possession and sale of illegal wildlife, sharing of information with partner enforcement agencies, investigating all feedback on the illegal wildlife trade, conducting regular unannounced checks on retail outlets, and inspecting shipments from high-risk countries.

An AVA spokesman told TNP: "We have zero tolerance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to trade endangered species and their parts.

"Any illegally acquired or imported products that contain or purport to contain endangered species detected will be seized."

The agency also said it had been collaborating with international and local agencies on border inspections and intelligence gathering.

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