■ CrimeHitman's client arrested
A Taiwanese man who allegedly hired a Chinese hitman to kill his brother for insurance payments has been arrested, police said yesterday. Chung Chin-rung (鍾進榮), 56, took out travel insurance worth NT$5 million (US$155,000) for his 63-year-old brother prior to their departure for southern China in July. Police said he promised about NT$400,000 to a Chinese man to kill his brother on July 27 and brought the ashes back to Taiwan to claim the insurance money. "He had NT$2 million in credit card debts and was plotting to inherit a family house," Kaohsiung County Deputy Police Chief Chen Shu-tien told reporters. The suspected killer, Lee Chihkang (李志剛), 40, was arrested by Chinese police in August and reportedly confessed to accepting money from Chung for the murder. Chung was arrested yesterday in Kaohsiung City and is facing charges in connection to murder and insurance fraud.
Taiwan to get New Year chill
The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday reported that a strong cold front is moving south and is likely to hit Taiwan on Tuesday. Therefore, the temperature will gradually drop in the next few days, and will be as low as 10?C in northern and central Taiwan when the cold front arrives. The cold front is likely to stay in Taiwan until New Year's Day, and the temperature nationwide will keep dropping until the New Year holiday, the bureau said. Meanwhile, both Mt. Jade and Mt. Hohuan received their first snow of this year last night. Weather forecasters said that it may snow again in the mountainous areas of central Taiwan when the cold front arrives Tuesday.
Spoonbill festival begins
The 2004 Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Festival opened in Tainan County yesterday. The event will run until Jan. 31. The festival is currently being held in Shihfen village of Chihku township, and will include "black-faced spoonbill dancing," a display of fishing tackle, a Christmas music concert and folk song performances, the organizers said. Meanwhile, the black-faced spoonbill museum at Chienkung Elementary School was officially opened to the public, with bird experts describing the habits and characteristics of the rare birds. The organizer also promoted the event by launching a Web site dedicated to the rare birds. More information can be accessed on the Internet at http://happy.tnhg.gov.tw/.
Chang will not resign
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) will not resign from his designated legislator position, said a DPP ranking official yesterday. The official, who declined to be named, said Chang can only offer to resign from his designated legislator-at-large position after the opening of the new Legislative session on Feb. 1. And if Chang does not resign, he still has a chance to bid for the next legislative speakership, the source said. Chang has offered to resign as DPP secretary-general as well as legislator-at-large to shoulder responsibility for the DPP's failure to win a legislative majority in the recent elections. Chang's resignation as a legislator-at-large, however, was reportedly declined by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is also the DPP chairman. Since the DPP may nominate candidates to run for the legislative speakership and vice speakership, Chang still has a chance to take the helm of the next legislature, according to the source.