Legislator switches parties
The Taiwan Solidarity Union yesterday revoked Chao Lien-chu's (趙連出) legislative candidacy as Chao will run as the Dadao Compassion Jishih Party's (大道慈悲濟世黨) vice presidential candidate next year. Chao is required by law to deposit NT$1 million (US$31,250) and collect 240,000 signatures endorsing his election bid before Dec. 31. The Central Election Commission can confiscate the deposit if Chao fails to collect the required signatures. The Dadao Compassion Jishih Party is one of six political parties established during the second half of this year.
New diplomats named
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator-at-large George Liu (劉寬平) has been assigned to succeed Rex Wang (王世榕) as the country's representative to Switzerland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) told a press conference yesterday. Charles Liu (劉溪泉), chief of the third bureau of the presidential office, was assigned as the next representative to Denmark, Yeh said. Deputy Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰) will become the representative to Hungary and Ingrid Hsing (邢瀛輝), serving at the country's embassy in Panama, was designated as representative to Ecuador as part of the latest diplomatic reshuffle, Yeh said.
Retired officer sentenced
A retired top military intelligence officer was convicted yesterday of collecting and publishing classified information in a book, the High Court said. Pang Ta-wei (龐大為), a former deputy section chief of the Military Intelligence Bureau, was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison, but his term was reduced to 18 months in accordance with the commutation bill enacted in July, High Court spokesman Wen Yao-yuan (溫耀源) said. "Pang was sentenced to one year and eight months for collecting national defense documents that must not be made public. [Pang] was also given a two-year jail term for leaking such documents," Wen said. It was not immediately clear whether Pang would appeal and the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment on the ruling. Among the information disclosed was information relating to his unit's spying operations in China from 1992 to 1997, press reports said. Pang claimed he did not intend to reveal national secrets.
Fishermen lodge complaint
A group of fishermen lodged a protest yesterday against the Southern Taiwan Operations of the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) over harsh treatment by the coast guard regarding definitions of the nature of their catch. Complaining that the coast guard converges on the Hsiaokang (小港) fishing port whenever their vessels enter port to inspect their catch, and labels large volumes of their fishery produce as "smuggled," the fishermen called for Yang Li-chuan (楊麗川), director of the CGA Southern Taiwan Operations, to step down. The fishermen complained that even the catch they bring in themselves from the open seas has been labeled "smuggled" by CGA patrol officers. The CGA patrol officers, however, argued that smuggling has been rampant among Taiwan's fishing sector in recent years and said that the government has resolved to weed out smuggling. They said the illicit activity had infringed upon the interests of local fishermen.
Maxtor hard drives recalled
The Consumer Protection Commission ordered a recall of 3.5 inch Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 external hard drives through a press release yesterday. A Trojan virus was found on 320GB and 500GB hard drives models sold after September, the press release said. Xander International Corp, distributor of the hard drives, said that customers may obtain a refund at retail stores where they purchased the hard drives or exchange them for a new hard drive at Xander service centers across the country or original retail stores, the press release said. In addition, those who want to keep the merchandise may download free anti-virus software at www.seagate.com/www/zh-tw/support/downloads/personal_storage/ps3200-sw. For details, please visit www.xander.com.tw.