Taiwanese jailed in Vietnam
A Vietnamese court has sentenced a Taiwanese man to 10 years in jail for smuggling more than US$1.3 million in diamonds into the country, state media said yesterday. The Ho Chi Minh City People's Court sentenced Chen Hsin-hsiung, 45, on Tuesday for illegally importing 15,182 diamonds and selling more than 9,000 for more than US$1.3 million, the Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Police) daily reported. Chen was arrested in September 2004 when customs officials at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City discovered the undeclared diamonds in his luggage. He had arrived on a flight from Taiwan. Police later raided his house and jewelry store in central Ho Chi Minh City, seizing more than 1,900 diamonds and about 150 pieces of jewelry, which the judge ruled would be forfeited to the state.
NPA raids fake sock warehose
The National Police Agency's intellectual property rights division said yesterday it had cracked down on a counterfeit ring that was producing fake big-name sports socks for online purchase. The police raided a warehouse in Shulin (樹林), Taipei County, on Monday, where they discovered nearly 1,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike, Adidas, Puma and Levi's sports socks. They arrested a man surnamed Lai, the suspected ringleader. The police referred Lai to the Banciao District Prosecutors' Office for further questioning. Lai is suspected of selling the counterfeit sports socks on the Internet and delivering them to online customers by mail, police said. His products were described as being as good as the originals, with identical labels and all the latest styles available.
Visitor statistics released
Thirty-four tourist spots have attracted more than 18 million local and foreign tourists from January to June, statistics from the Taipei City Department of Budget, Accounting and Statistics showed yesterday. National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall was the most popular tourist spot in the city, attracting more than 6 million people during the period, followed by National Palace Museum and Taipei Zoo, with about 1.6 million. The department said that the number of visitors to the city had increased 9.8 percent from last year, with about 100,000 tourists visiting the attractions daily. Longshan Temple attracted about 8,000 people every day, while the Taipei 101 observatory deck received 3,000.
EPA fines three companies
Six companies were recently fined by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) for excessive water use, an EPA official said yesterday. The three companies -- Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), Formosa Chemicals and Fiber Corp (台塑石化) and Nan Chung Petrochemical Corp (南中石化) -- used excessive water to the tune of 10.1 percent, 4.7 percent and 20 percent respectively, a survey conducted by the EPA between July 3 and July 15 showed, the official said. The EPA fined them for failing to comply with the guidelines on water usage stipulated in an environmental impact assessment made by the EPA to demand that companies conserve water, the official said. Formosa Plastics was fined NT$1 million (US$30,500), while Formosa Chemicals and Fiber was fined NT$850,000 and Nan Chung Petrochemical NT$650,000, the official said. EPA will conduct another survey before Dec. 31 to ensure the companies are complying with the guidelines.