Fugitive Rebar Group chairman Wang You-theng (王又曾) is scheduled to make his first appearance before a US immigration judge on Tuesday at the beginning of what many observers expect to be a lengthy procedure in his bid to avoid repatriation to Taiwan to face embezzlement and other charges.
US immigration authorities have set a preliminary court appearance for Wang on Feb. 13 at 8am in the San Pedro detention facility south of Los Angeles, where he has been held since being interdicted on his attempted entry into the US last Friday.
The hearing will be preliminary in nature, and will deal largely with housekeeping items, according to Elaine Komis, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which is handling the case.
In the hearing, called a master calendar hearing, the judge will discuss the charges, whether Wang needs legal representation, whether Wang wants to seek relief from deportation and similar issues.
"It's the first meeting with the judge and preliminary discussions. The merits of the case are discussed later in an individual hearing," Komis said.
In some cases, a decision on whether or not to deport an alien is made at the first hearing, but not in most instances, she said.
The US' case will be presented by a prosecutor from the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that is detaining Wang.
While Taiwanese authorities will not have a separate role in the proceedings, they can provide briefs and other material to the court through the prosecution, Komis said.
Meanwhile, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (
In his talks with US officials and others, "the sense I got is it might not be as optimistic as we want, because the United States is a country that strictly adheres to the legal system and legal procedures," which can be lengthy, he told the Taipei Times.
Taiwan's desire for a fast return for Wang was "not a realistic assessment of the real situation. If the case becomes legally entangled, Taiwan must wait for the results," Wu said. "I don't think this is going to proceed in an easy fashion."
Wu expressed some hope that ongoing cross-strait efforts to convince China to deport fleeing criminals may eventually bear fruit. Those contacts involve academics from both sides at conferences in which Taiwan seeks "to let the Chinese side understand the depth of the issues," and the anger of the Taiwanese people over China's refusal to turn over criminals.
"I think they have a much better understanding right now because of the Wang case, opinion surveys and news clips from Taiwan," he added.
There may be more such conferences between academics and perhaps semi-governmental officials to find a better way to deal with the issue, Wu said.
He also called on cooperation from China based on the 1993 cross-strait meeting between Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation chairman Koo Chen-fu (
Asked whether China seemed willing to help, he said, "not at this point. But in recent contacts, they seem to be getting a much better understanding of the situation."
Meanwhile, in Taipei, the Taiwan Association of University Professors staged a protest outside the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday, asking the US to repatriate Wang. The AIT reiterated that since the Wang case was an ongoing legal matter the AIT therefore had no comment. There were a number of minor scuffles between police and protesters as the association did not apply for permission in advance of its protest.
Additional reporting by Jewel Huang
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease