Chlorine added to fight SARS
The Taiwan Water Works is adding four times the usual amount of chlorine to tap water to help prevent the spread of SARS. An official of the water works said yesterday that the company has begun to increase chlorine in running water from 0.2 parts per million to 1.0 ppm. The chloride-enriched water is still safe to drink, he said, adding that chloride in the water will dissipate after three to five minutes of boiling.
■ Cross-strait ties
Illegal migrants detained
The Coast Guard Administration intercepted and arrested 16 illegal immigrants from China in Shanchi, Taipei County early yesterday morning. The detainees were given cursory health examinations and were made to wear surgical masks before being questioned individually. After a recent incident an entire contingent of coast guard personnel had to be put into quarantine because one member was suspected of being infected with SARS, the truck that was to transport the illegal immigrants was thoroughly disinfected by personnel wearing protective suits. The Chinese will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine before being sent to a detention center.
Huge Ecstasy bust reported
Taipei police on Wednesday arrested a man who admitted that he smuggled in high-grade Ecstasy, from the Netherlands and confiscated more than 200,000 pills in the largest bust ever in Taiwan. Police were tipped off that a couple were pedaling the pills in pubs in downtown Taipei. To trace the source of the drugs, police targeted a man surnamed Wang, who was a pub owner. Police reportedly caught Wang and Huang Chin-cheng (黃進成) when the two were discussing a deal in Hsichi on Wednesday. Police seized 3,000 Ecstasy pills at the time. Huang had reportedly hidden more pills in Kueishan, Taipei County, where police discovered 200,000 Ecstasy pills in four large boxes, with a market value of NT$60 million.
■ Health care
Court convicts nurses
A court yesterday convicted two nurses of manslaughter for giving anesthetic shots to seven infants by mistake, killing one child, a Panchiao District Court official said. Huang Ching-hui (黃靖惠), the nurse who administered the injections, and Li Mei-yun (李美雲) were sentenced to two years and 18 months in prison respectively, the official said. Li, however, was given a five-year suspension on her sentence. The incident occurred on Nov. 29 when the nurses at Pei Cheng clinic mistakenly gave seven babies anesthetic shots instead of hepatitis vaccinations. Both substances were stored in the same freezer.
Man sentenced for spying
A court in northeast China has sentenced a man to 11 years in jail for handing over classified documents to a secret agent from Taiwan, state media reported yesterday. Fu Jian, a 51-year-old Communist Party official at an oil management department, was sentenced at Jinzhou Intermediary Court in Liaoning province "recently," Xinhua News Service said. Fu handed over classified 58 documents to a Taiwanese intelligence officer over a five-year period ending May of last year, the news service reported. The news agency did not provide details about what kind of documents Fu delivered to his Taiwanese contact, identified as Lu Yi-chun.