Mon, Jun 25, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ CRIME

Four charged with smuggling

Thai police have charged five people, including four Taiwanese, with smuggling 8kg of heroin worth up to US$850,000, police said yesterday. One Taiwanese man and another man of unknown nationality were arrested on Friday at a Bangkok department store with the narcotics, said Police Major General Somdet Khaokham, one of the investigating officers. The pair confessed they were part of a gang planning to smuggle the heroin into Taiwan, Somdet said. Their statements led to the arrest of three more Taiwanese men at Suvarnabhumi Airport outside Bangkok. "We believe they were not doing it for the first time," Somdet said. If found guilty of drug trafficking, the five men could face the death penalty. Somdet said police believed the heroin originated in Myanmar.

■ IMMIGRATION

PRC man swims to Kinmen

A Kinmen detachment of the Coast Guard Administration referred a Chinese national to the Kinmen Public Prosecutors' Office yesterday after he swam from a beach in Xiamen, China, to Kinmen's Dadan Islet a day earlier, where he was immediately arrested by garrison troops. Hu Xianping, 50, a resident of Nanjing, said he was trying to escape from 20 years of political persecution in China. Admitting that he had bought a map to plan his escape route, Hu said he wanted to go to Taiwan to meet his uncle, who he said is a general. Hu was arrested shortly before noon on Saturday after swimming about three-and-a-half hours across a narrow strait to Dadan. The administration's Kinmen detachment declined to comment on whether Hu had really suffered from political persecution in China.

■ DIPLOMACY

Tom Chou tapped for St Lucia

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) has approved Tom Chou, (周台竹) secretary-general of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs, as the ambassador to St Lucia. Chou has promised to assume his new post as soon as he receives the notification of approval from the Caribbean country's government, a foreign affairs official said yesterday. Chou made the remarks on Saturday in an interview after his appointment to the new post was approved by the Executive Yuan, following the government's announcement of the resumption of diplomatic ties with St Lucia on May 1, the official said. St Lucia first established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1984, before switching diplomatic recognition to China in 1997.

■ DIPLOMACY

Taipei seeks dumping tips

In an effort to prevent illegal waste dumping, the Taipei City Government will give cash rewards to people who provide information leading to the arrest of offenders, with rewards of up to 30 percent of the fines collected as a result of a tip, a city official said yesterday. The city's Department of Environmental Protection has stepped up its crack-down on wanton waste dumping and littering. The department, based on information supplied by residents, has uncovered a total of 8,000 cases of illegal dumping over the past five months and investigated 14,243 cases last year, the official said. Those convicted of illegally dumping waste face fines ranging from NT1,200 to NT$6,000, the official said. He said that violators will face heavy fines beginning July 1 if they commit offenses more than twice within a year.

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