3C's founder convicted
Wu Tsann-kuen (吳燦坤), founder and chairman of the Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co (3C, 燦坤實業), was found guilty of violations of the Securities and Exchange Law by the Kaohsiung district court yesterday. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. His personal assistant, Chuang Hui-fang (莊惠芳), was sentenced to 14 months. The two were found to have willfully manipulated the share price of Sunfar Computers Co (順發電腦) after the company rejected an offer to purchase its shares. According to the judgement, Tsann Kuen Enterprises had approached Sunfar's general manager, Wu Chin-chang (吳錦昌), with an offer to purchase Sunfar shares for NT$20, although they were trading on the market for NT$72. After the offer was rejected, Wu and Chuang manipulated the stock market to force down the price of Sunfar shares.
Mental hospitals increase
The number of mental institutions in Taiwan had increased to 339 as of the end of September last year, up 45 from a year earlier, according to a report released yesterday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. The government has continued to funnel national resources and offer incentives to encourage the private sector to expand mental hospital wards in order to upgrade facilities for mental patients, the report said. There were a total of 27,000 hospital beds for mental patients as of the end of September, up 7.5 percent over the same period of 2003, it said. The number of mental health workers also increased 4.1 percent to 7,223 people as of the end of September, which included 6,555 full-time workers and 668 part-time workers, it said.
Kaohsiung starts Hakka body
Emphasizing its dedication to multiculturalism, Kaohsiung City Government announced the establishment of its Hakka Affairs Commission yesterday. The head of the committee will be Liao Sung-hsiung (廖松雄), who was originally the department head of the Executive Yuan's Council for Hakka Affairs southern regional office. The establishment of the commis-sion is the next step of the city's dedication to the promotion of Hakka culture, as shown earlier through the establishment of the Kaohsiung City Hakka Culture and Affairs Founda-tion by city mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) in 1999, the city government said yesterday. Kaohsiung City has 250,000 people of Hakka descent.
■ Disaster Relief
DOH to send aid team
The Department of Health (DOH) will send a 17-member team to the Thai island of Phuket today to help with epidemic-prevention work there over the next three months. The DOH noted that one week after lethal tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake hit Phuket Dec. 26, the need for urgent medical care is no longer there but the specter of an epidemic outbreak is emerging. The team, comprised of epidemic prevention experts and medical personnel, will bring with them 1.5 tons of health and hygiene equipment and medicine, with the focus on public health. The DOH said that in the next three months, they will continue to send personnel to Phuket who will work there on a rotational basis.