Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Crime
Trio arrested carrying drugs

Three Taiwanese face possible death sentences after they were arrested at Malaysia's main airport for allegedly trying to smuggle the illegal drug ketamine to Taiwan, a news report said yesterday. Malaysian security officials found 4.5kg of the synthetic party drug, sometimes known as "Special K," in small bags strapped to the bodies of two Taiwanese women and a Taiwanese man at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday, the national news agency Bernama reported. If convicted they face the mandatory death penalty for drug smuggling. Bernama did not give a reason for reporting the arrest several days later. The drugs with a street value of more than 600,000 ringgit (US$160,000) were smuggled in from India by traffickers using Malaysia as a transit point, Bernama cited national anti-narcotics chief Mohammed Najib Abdul Aziz as saying.

■ Culture

Pop group shuns politics

Pop music band 5566 said yesterday the group will not perform at a concert to celebrate national day next week, but denied reports that the four young singers were pandering to China. Newspapers reported on Monday that the band has pulled out due to fears of being branded as supporters of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Sun Teh-rong (孫德榮), the agent for 5566, confirmed that the band will not appear at Monday's national day concert but said politics had nothing to do with the decision. "As entertainers, their job is to bring happiness to audiences, and they don't have a political stance," Sun told ETTV Cable News, adding that the singers' busy schedule will take them to Hong Kong on Monday. Many Taiwanese entertainers are cautious about performing at official functions due to fears of a backlash in China, where many are popular.

■ Politics

Li Ao mulls mayoral bid

Independent Legislator Li Ao (李敖) yesterday said he is considering running in next year's Taipei City mayoral election, just to show his personal dissatisfaction with incumbent Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Because he feels that Ma and the KMT might eventually side with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and endorse the arms procurement plan, Li said that he cannot remain idle and let Ma and the KMT think that they can "easily manipulate and determine our fate." Li lauded Huang Ta-chou (黃大洲) as the city's best mayor ever, saying that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had failed to make any contribution during his term as Taipei mayor, and Ma had done nothing at all. He, however, complimented Ma as a "good-looking Chen," adding that Ma's good looks could "compensate for his incompetence."

■ Defense

Raytheon to service missiles

Raytheon Co will provide full service support for the standard missile 1 (SM-1) program for US allies, which includes Taiwan, the US Department of Defense said on Monday. SM-1 is an anti-air weapon. Taiwan's Chengkung class frigates -- a modified version of US Perry class frigates -- are equipped with the weapon. The Pentagon said the Arizona-based company has been awarded a US$36,862,686 firm-fixed-price modification under a previously awarded contract to exercise an option to provide full-service support requirements in support of the SM-1 program. Of this Taiwan will account for 44 percent, or around US$16.22 million of the amount.

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