Ship capsizes off Taichung
A Panamanian-registered cargo ship capsized in rough seas near Taichung, and four Chinese crew members were missing, the coast guard said yesterday. The Ho Hsin No. 1, with a cargo of gravel and a crew of 11, first encountered problems on Tuesday off the coast of Taichung, the coast guard said. The ship originated in China and was on its way to Taichung harbor. The ship was taking on water at the front and rear, but the captain said the problem was under control, so the crew didn't leave the ship immediately, the coast guard said. As the weather worsened late on Tuesday, the ship let in more water and capsized. Coast guard vessels rescued seven crew members, but four were still unaccounted for, the coast guard said.
Two nabbed in phone scam
Police have arrested two people suspected of using foreign laborers' personal information to obtain hundreds of cellphone numbers, the Criminal Investigation Bureau reported yesterday. Police were tipped off about one month ago that members of a crime ring often approach foreign laborers in their eateries or shops, claiming that they would help the laborers remit money home or apply for cellphones. Copies of documents commonly known as "foreign laborers' cards" were then collected from the foreign laborers to apply for cellphone numbers. In two separate raids in Changhua County and Taichung County on Sunday, police rounded up two suspects -- Lai Pei-yao, 24, and Kao Min-ho, 42, seizing more than 2,000 "foreign laborers' cards" and over 200 international phone cards. Local mobile phone operators offer various preferential rates and simplified application meas-urers to bearers of these cards.
Second spoonbill treated
A black-faced spoonbill wintering in a wetland area in southern Taiwan found unable to stand, was captured and sent for immediate treatment, Tainan county officials said yesterday. Tainan County Animal Disease Prevention Center officials said it was the second of the rare birds to be brought in for treatment and initially thought that the bird might have been infected by microbes, but that its condition is not life-threatening. The officials said the first black-faced spoonbill was captured Tuesday morning and that the bird was recovering well following treatment. Each year, the endangered birds arrive at the wetlands located at the estuary of the Tsengwen River in Tainan County to spend the winter.
■ Human Rights
Dissidents petition Chen
Seventy Chinese dissidents have urged President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to free two Chinese pro-democracy activists who fled to the Taiwan to seek political asylum, a human rights watchdog said yesterday. Yan Peng (燕鵬), from Shandong Province, swam to Taiwan in June after he was jailed in China in 2001 for 18 months. Chen Rongli (陳榮利) swam to Taiwan in January after serving an eight-year prison term in China last year for attempting to establish a political party. "Detaining democracy activists who are fleeing persecution on the mainland is hardly consistent with the Chen Shui-bian government's professed emphasis on human rights," Liu Qing (劉青), president of the New York-based watchdog Human Rights in China, said in a statement.