Chiu Yi, protesters sue Chen
Independent Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) and several frequent guests on TVBS's talk show, 2100 Quan Min Kai Jiang (Speaking Your Mind at 2100), yesterday led hundreds of people to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office to file corruption suits against President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), acting Presidential Office Secretary-General Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍). As Chiu and the other rally leaders asked all the rally participants to line up to file their suits against Chen and the others, they paralyzed the prosecutors' office. A line of police in front of the prosecutors' office blocked the crowd from rushing into the office. Chiu said the protesters were accusing Chen and others of insider-trading and involvement in the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp scandal.
Younger people join KMT
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has seen a noticeable change in its member structure, as more young men and women are joining the party, spokeswoman Cheng Lee-wen (鄭麗文) said yesterday. Speaking at a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting, Cheng said a total of 4,371 new members joined the KMT during the October-December period last year, while 2,570 had applied to re-register their memberships. According to Cheng, people aged between 20 and 30 account for about 22 percent of the new members, exceeding the percentages of other age groups.
HK acquits WTO protester
Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠), a Taiwanese student arrested by Hong Kong police during an anti-WTO protest last month, was acquitted of the crime yesterday, after appearing in the court four times since last month. Lee and 13 other demonstrators, including one Japanese citizen, a Chinese citizen and 11 South Koreans, had been charged with "illegal assembly." With the exception of three of the charged South Koreans, the rest of the protesters were released. Lee is expected to return to Taiwan today. "The court decided to quash the indictment as the prosecutors hadn't found enough evidence to demonstrate the crime," said Tsai Jy-jon (蔡之中), director of the Mainland Affairs Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. While expressing gratitude for Lee's release, Tsai said the government felt unhappy with Hong Kong police. "They should not have arrested the protesters given ... that they didn't have enough evidence," Tsai said.
■ Lunar New Year
Matsu steps up inspections
Quarantine officials on the island of Matsu yesterday warned passengers traveling between Taiwan and China via the small three links not to bring animals or plants from China during the peak season of the Lunar New Year holiday. Because China remains an area affected by various diseases and epidemics, such as bird flu, mad cow disease and rabies, quarantine and inspection at seaports and airports on the island will be stepped up in an effort to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, quarantine officials said. Taiwanese businesspeople returning home and other passengers must not bring fresh or processed vegetables and fruit, or any meat, live animals or poultry from China, they said.