Salesman gets life in Manila
A Kaohsiung salesman was jailed for life in the Philippines yesterday for smuggling drugs, a court said. Hsu Jiu-chang, 30, was found guilty of smuggling 7.5kg of methampethamine hydrochloride, also known as "ice," on a commercial plane that arrived at Manila airport in September 2001. Customs police found the drugs mixed with Chinese wine in a jar that the defendant, a marketing agent of Touch Radio Co, had hand-carried on the flight from Xiamen, court records show. Court officials said Hsu had pleaded innocent and that he had brought in the jar as a favor to a friend who wanted it delivered to another person in the Philippines.
■ Cross-strait Ties
Beijing names new official
China yesterday appointed a Taiwanese speaker who has been dealing with Taiwanese investors as a vice minister for Taiwan affairs. The State Council named Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中), 53, Communist Party boss of Xiamen, as deputy director of the policy-making Taiwan Affairs Office, the official Xinhua news agency said. Taiwanese investors have poured billions of dollars into Xiamen and other parts of Fujian Province. The appointment of Zheng, who replaces the retiring Li Bingcai (李炳才), is part of a shift in the government's policy towards Taiwan.
Protesters take aim at Japan
A group of Aborigines will protest at a controversial Tokyo war shrine next week to demand that the names of Taiwanese soldiers listed there be removed, organizers said yesterday. The 60-member group, led by Aboriginal independent Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), will also travel to Osaka where a court is expected to deliver a verdict on June 17 on a legal case seeking the removal of the names from the Yasukuni shrine. Aboriginal groups have staged several protests against Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Shu Chin-chiang (蘇進強) for making a pilgrimage to Yasukuni in April. They demanded Shu apologize for visiting the shrine. Su argued that he was paying tribute to some 28,000 Taiwanese -- many of them Aborigines forced to join the Japanese military -- whose names were enshrined there, not war criminals.
Wuer Kaixi juggles debt
Tiananmen student leader and veteran activist Wuer Kaixi (吾爾開希) has said he will repay credit-card debts totaling NT$630,000 (US$20,200). Wuer Kaixi, who is married to a Taiwanese woman and is resident in this country, visited the offices of the Bank of Shanghai yesterday morning to say that he was able to repay the debt in installments. If payments were made on schedule, the bank said, it would not seize his assets. Wuer Kaixi applied for a credit card and a subsidiary card for his wife, Chen Hui-ling (陳慧玲), in September 2002, and subsequently spent heavily on hotels and restaurants. Originally, he was able to make the scheduled payments, but after taking out a credit-card loan in September 2003, he was only able to make minimum payments and the debt spiraled out of control. The bank recently took legal action to reclaim the debt.