Malaysia arrests Taiwanese
Malaysian police have arrested six people from Taiwan and China for exporting the drug ketamine in coffee to avoid its detection by sniffer dogs, a report said yesterday. The five men and a woman were arrested after a five-month investigation in which more than 25kg of ketamine was seized along with a large number of coffee sachets, the New Straits Times reported. The coffee sachets had been opened, partially emptied and filled with small packets containing ketamine before being released. The six were believed to be part of an international drug trafficking ring exporting to China and neighboring countries, the report said. Drug-trafficking in Malaysia carries a mandatory death penalty.
■ Cross-strait Ties
Mayor to visit China
The Mainland Affairs Council has approved Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's (胡志強) application to visit China for the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council meetings, council Vice Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) announced yesterday. You said the council has no reason to restrict the mayor's participation in an international event and believes that Hu will behave with propriety while in China. You said Hu is not the first local government chief to obtain the government's permission to visit China, noting that former Hsinchu mayor Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅) was permitted to go to China in 2000 to take part in a world technology conference held in Nanjing.
Chen may visit assembly
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will make a visit to the National Assembly if a formal invitation is extended to him from the assembly, said Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun yesterday. Yu made the remarks in response a media query. The session of the National Assembly convened last Monday. Political parties and representative groups at the assembly will present their views tomorrow on the amendment package to the Constitution and will start voting on the proposed reforms on Tuesday. The assembly is expected to meet for about two weeks. According to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) will tomorrow make a trip to Yangming-shan's Chung San building where the session is held to rally KMT assembly representatives.
■ Cross-strait Ties
MAC denies panda report
The government has not sent any group to China to inquire about the proposed gift of pandas from Beijing as had been claimed by Chinese media, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) officials said yesterday. The officials were responding to media reports that a Taiwanese group is conducting a fact-finding visit in Sichuan to pave the way for importing pandas from China. The Chinese government said after opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) visited China in April that it would offer two pandas as gifts to Taiwan. However, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said that pandas are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and that the issue should be handled prudently. MAC officials said the government will be glad to see the pandas come to Taiwan if the procedures are in accordance with related international and domestic laws and there is a place in the country that is capable of taking care of the animals.