Sun, Jan 05, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

■ Piracy
Crackdown comes to an end

A two-day nationwide crackdown on commercial piracy, online crimes and lottery fraud ended yesterday morning, having uncovered 20 criminal groups, with police arresting 619 suspects involved in 521 cases, according to the National Police Administration under the Ministry of the Interior. Police said various criminal rings were raided in the sweeping crackdown, which found Web sites offering pirated CDs, imitation products of famous brands, illegal lotteries and fake beauty care products. At least 70,000 pirated CDs worth NT$10 billion (US$28.5 million) and imitation glasses, clothes and watches worth NT$60 million were seized. Administration officials said that the clampdown has been highly effective in preventing piracy of intellectual property and organized crime.

■ Plastics ban

EPA wins praise

The non-profit Consumers' Foundation called on the public yesterday to support the government's efforts to limit the use of plastic bags and disposable tableware. Foundation secretary-general Chen Jen-hong (程仁宏) lauded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for initiating the policy. He said the agency should be supported for its wisdom and courage. Noting that the prohibition of the use of plastic bags is a great step toward protecting the environment, Chen said the EPA was the only government agency to win an award from the foundation last year. Although the measures will inevitably cause inconvenience in our daily lives, Chen said, it will bring the nation closer to developed countries in environment protection and will keep Taiwan tidier and cleaner.

■ Islands dispute

Activists blast Japan

Hong Kong activists denounced Japan's move to rent three disputed islands and vowed yesterday to travel to the islands to declare Chinese sovereignty. "This is the equivalent of Japan declaring war on China," activist Lo Chau said by telephone. Lo said his group, the Action Committee for Defending the Tiaoyu Islands, hopes to raise enough money to travel to the Tiaoyutai island chain, midway between Taiwan and Japan's southern island of Okinawa, in May. The islands are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan. The spat over the islands has long been a rallying point for Hong Kong activists. In 1996, an activist drowned after jumping overboard on a protest expedition when Japanese coast guard vessels prevented him from landing on the islands.

■ Spoonbills

Death-toll reaches 69

The death toll among endangered black-faced spoonbills wintering at the Chiku conservation area in southern Tainan County hit 69 yesterday. The last bird to die was sent to Tainan's animal disease-control center the previous day and an autopsy discovered an undigested fish in its stomach, center officials said. At the same time, another ailing black-faced spoonbill remains in critical condition, the officials added. Each year, a large number of black-faced spoonbills migrate from the Korean Peninsula and northeastern China to the Chiku wetlands to spend the winter. Some 700 have arrived so far. The rare migratory birds showed signs of illness on Dec. 9. Initial studies show that the dead and sick birds were infected with C-type botulinum.Agencies

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