Elderly smuggler jailed
A 90-year-old Taiwanese man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for trying to smuggle 1.9kg of heroin out of Cambodia, a court official said yesterday. The man, surnamed Huang, was sentenced on Friday, prosecutor Kry Sok Y said. The court also ordered him to pay a fine of 20 million riels (US$4,900), the prosecutor said. Cambodian police arrested Huang last May after finding the heroin strapped to his body under his clothes at Phnom Penh's international airport while he was checking in for a flight to Hong Kong. Huang denied his involvement in smuggling, claiming the heroin belonged to two other Taiwanese men, the prosecutor said. "It was a huge amount of heroin under his clothes. How could he say he didn't know about it?'' Kry Sok Y said. He said Huang was the oldest foreigner ever to be convicted of drug trafficking in Cambodia.
Anti-Chen camp to sue MPs
The campaign aimed at ousting President Chen Shui-bin (陳水扁) yesterday announced it was filing a lawsuit against the military police (MP) for violating a female protester's freedom of speech. Hsu Hsi-erh (許希爾), who disturbed the flag-raising ceremony on New Year's Day in front of the Presidential Office by shouting "Chen Shui-bian, step down!" was carried away by a dozen military police, who stuffed towels into her mouth to silence her. Anti-Chen campaign spokesman Chang Fu-chung (張富忠), who was representing Hsu in filing the lawsuit against the MPs, condemned the police's action and vowed to fight such tactics. "Not only was it a violation of civil rights, but it was also a serious blow to the democratic system and freedom of speech," Chang said in a written statement.
Birds to be tagged with ICs
The Council of Agriculture is planning to equip migratory birds spending the winter in the country with global positioning system (GPS) devices to bolster avian flu preventive measures. Officials from the council's Bureau of Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine said that tracking migratory birds and their travel patterns with the devices would help them better monitor their routes. The bureau is planning to cooperate with local wild bird societies to install the GPS microchips, officials said. The bureau said that given the recent outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of avian flu at poultry farms in Japan and South Korea, it would be paying extra attention to the arrival and activities of migratory birds from the north.
Robbery suspects detained
The Taipei Prosecutors' Office detained four suspects in the nation's biggest cash heist, while three were released on NT$50,000 (US$1,515) bail. "In addition to Lee Han-yang (李漢揚) and his younger brother Lee Chin-tsan (李金瓚), the masterminds in the case, the judges believe that Lee Syuan-min (李選民) and Chiu Wei-sheng (邱偉盛) helped in the [heist]," said Chang Chiang-liang (張江良), deputy director of the Sungshan Precinct. Chang said that Lee Han-yang had admitted that he and his brother had hatched the plan six months ago. Chang added that out of the total of NT$56 million (US$1.72 million) stolen, Lee Han-yang took NT$200,000 with him, wired NT$10 million to his brother Lee Chin-tsan in China and gave NT$750,000 to Chiu as a token of appreciation for helping him escape. "We have good reasons to believe that at least NT$40 million still remain somewhere in Taiwan and we are trying to retrieve the money," Chang said.