■ TravelVisa service to resume
With the SARS threat having eased, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday announced it will lift a ban on landing visas for Hong Kong residents. Service for 14-day landing visas will resume at midnight on Monday, the MAC said in a press release. Noting that underlying SARS danger still exists, the MAC said Hong Kong visitors with landing visas would nonetheless be required to take their temperature twice a day during their stay as well as agree to provide documents certifying that they don't have SARS symptoms.
■ Foreign Affairs
Minister defends trip
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) yesterday clarified a media report on his recent trip to France, defending his decision to bring three secretaries and his wife with him for the week-long trip. Chien admitted bringing three secretaries with him for a regional meeting with Taiwanese diplomats. He said it was normal to bring secretaries with him for such a trip. Chien said one of his secretaries continued on a private trip in Europe after the rest of the team returned to Taiwan, but this trip was paid for by the secretary.
Aid recipients give back
Five individuals who benefited from World Vision Taiwan's charity programs have been returning the help they received by assisting in a charity sales drive set up by the organization in Pingtung City. The five consist of a man whose son was helped by World Vision's Child Sponsor program, as well as four teenagers who are attending school under the organization's sponsorship. The five helped in the drive by moving around the city and selling toothpaste, gloves, bags, towels, torches and other items donated by sponsors. Money raised from the sales will be used to help children in Africa affected by famine.
Bodies of laborers found
The bodies of two Vietnamese laborers were found in Nantou County, police reported yesterday. Police said that they received reports at 9am that the bodies of two men had been dumped beside a bridge in Nantou's Shuili Village, bordering the township of Chichi. The police said they suspect the two men were beaten to death as both bodies displayed bruises to the head and chest area and one of them had a broken leg. There were also blood stains and signs of a scuffle at the scene, they said. The two men were 26 years old and Vietnamese, based on the documents found on the bodies.
Police land heroin haul
Police in Vietnam arrested a man after discovering 2.18kg of heroin in two boxes purporting to contain loudspeakers that were being sent by air to Taiwan, state media said yesterday. Luc Quoc Quoi was detained on Friday at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat international airport after the heroin haul he was trying to send to Taiwan was discovered by customs officers. The boxes were addressed to a Taiwanese man named Lin Chung-ho. Quoi said he had been given the heroin by another man who had instructed him to send it to Lin, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. Police believe the drugs originated from Cambodia and were smuggled across the border into Vietnam. Further investigation into the trafficking network was underway, the daily added.