Bank the green sea turtle swims Friday as part of her rehabilitation treatment in Bangkok.
Bank the green sea turtle swims Friday as part of her rehabilitation treatment in Bangkok. (Sakchai Lalit / Associated Press)

Sea turtle flaps flippers in 1st rehab swim after surgery

BANGKOK — Bank the green sea turtle flapped her flippers with vigor in her first swim after a life-saving operation to remove a heavy mass of swallowed coins from her stomach.

Veterinarians in Bangkok put the turtle in water Friday for the first time since her surgery four days ago to see how well she could move. The turtle was gently lowered into a large plastic tank and very quickly began swimming as best as she could in the restricted space.

"It's fantastic! She is responding very well," said Dr. Nantarika Chansue, who led the team from Chulalongkorn University's Veterinary Faculty. "Now she is very happy and looks like normal turtle."

The 25-year-old turtle was rescued from a pool in the seaside town of Sri Racha by the Thai navy. The cause of her ill health was revealed by 3D scans that showed she had been eating the coins thrown into her pool by passers-by who believed doing so would bring them luck or longevity.

Over the years, the loose change got stuck in the turtle's digestive tract, cracking her ventral shell and causing a life-threatening infection.

The surgeons needed four hours to remove 11 pounds of money, counting 915 coins of various currencies. Some are still inside. Veterinarians hope Bank will pass them naturally.


Her rehabilitation has involved manipulating her limbs to make sure the muscles don't stiffen up after being out of water for a prolonged period and checking that the surgical scar does not get infected. But there are lingering concerns.

"The wound healing seems to be OK, and there is no secondary infection because we are using sterile seawater," said Nantarika, "but we have checked her blood, and her nickel concentration is very high, so we have to work on that."

Korean judge's hair rollers seen as sign of a hardworking woman

SEOUL, South Korea — When the judge who oversaw the ouster of South Korea's president went to work Friday with two pink plastic hair rollers still attached to the back of her bobbed hair, the image, as is common in this hyper-connected society, went viral.

Many South Koreans chose to see Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi's rushed arrival at the Constitutional Court ahead of one of the most highly watched rulings in recent South Korean history as a symbol of a hardworking woman who is dedicated to a demanding job.

The hair rollers, which the judge was apparently unaware of as she entered her office, topped the list of most searched keywords on South Korea's most-visited web portal at one point.

The moment was a point of reflection for working women in the Asian country. It is common here for comedy shows and pop culture to make harsh jokes about women's appearances and mock their weight.

There appeared to be little of that Friday, although some of Park's ardent supporters shared Lee's address online and the hair salon she has frequented. Many saw the episode as a sign of Lee's dedication to her work. She was photographed arriving three hours before the scheduled reading of the verdict. Some women also found it humbling that one of the highest judges in the country does her own hair instead of hiring a stylist even on such an important day.

"Any woman who does her hair on her own has an experience like that at least once," one tweet said.

Lee, 54, is the only woman among eight judges on the Constitutional Court. She read the verdict that unanimously removed Park from office. Her six-year term ends Monday.

Associated Press