Fri, Feb 02, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Pop Stop

Compiled by Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

The tragic death of Beatrice Hsu (許瑋倫), a model and actress, has dominated TV and newspaper coverage this week. The Golden Bell nominee died after her car smashed into a barrier on the highway between Taichung and Taipei. The Mini Cooper span into the path of a truck and was crushed. Though Hsu was rescued from the wreckage she was in a coma and later died in hospital. Her young assistant was said to have been driving fast in a haphazard fashion, but unlike her passenger reportedly wore a seatbelt and received only minor injuries. As of press time, she was in a state of severe mental trauma and still believes Hsu is alive.

It seems the country has entered into a state of collective grief similar, perhaps, to that experienced in Britain when its Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash 10 years ago. Every hour 23.5 people are maimed or killed as a result of a traffic accidents in Taiwan, according to figures from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (主計處). But the death of a young woman with a high media profile elicits almost universal sympathy, as if she died to save us all. There will be a public funeral and concert for Hsu on Feb. 10.

It's been said before but that's not going to stop us repeating it. There's one rule for the rich and another for the poor. While the two men suspected in the Group 4 Securicor-Taiwan heist of NT$56 million were swiftly apprehended in China and repatriated to face justice, along with their accomplices in Taiwan; former Rebar Asia Pacific Group (力霸亞太企業集團) Chairman Wang You-theng (王又曾) and fourth wife (四房) Wang Chin She-ying (王金世英) got away with an estimated NT$10 billion and are currently enjoying the American Dream. Wang also managed to get away with having four wives and numerous affairs, according to the Apple Daily, which added the 79-year-old's vigor was due to a breakfast regimen of swallow's nest soup. This is basically bird spit from an endangered species and one of the most expensive foods on the planet.

Among Wang's playmates was the 36-year-old "entertainer" Tsai Chia-hung (蔡佳宏), who last week called her former lover a "vicious demon," presumably because he didn't make her wife number five. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but the vamp relented slightly on the weekend when she called a press conference to inform the world she "bore no hatred" toward Wang. No doubt she was reminded that Wang had arranged NT$10 million in loans for her to buy a luxury apartment and showered her with NT$8 million in gifts, including a Mercedes Benz and at least 30 Chanel purses and 20 pairs of Chanel shoes. Tsai admitted to being depressed after the affair ended, not because she missed the man, but because she had to sell so many of her Chanel goodies. She is currently earning a crust singing at weddings.

Talking of "spirited foxes" (狐狸精), as such women are known in Chinese society, Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) recently turned up in Taipei for the first time in five years. The youngest Taipei City councilwoman and former TV anchor was the unpixellated focus of one of the steamiest sex scandals ever in Taiwan when she was filmed flagrantly disporting herself with another woman's husband. She has been living in London and running a coffee shop according to Next Magazine, which reported that she was running out of money. In a week the minx collected a cool NT$800,000 making the rounds of entertainment shows. Tsai, no doubt, was taking notes.

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