US court to try Taiwanese
A Taiwanese man has been extradited from Hong Kong to New York to face charges of smuggling military equipment from the US to Taiwan, including infrared laser aiming devices for rifles and a fighter pilot helmet. Peng Yen-ching (彭彥清) was arrested in Hong Kong in December. He could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted. He made a brief appearance in federal court in Manhattan on Monday. A defense lawyer did not return a telephone message seeking comment. A New York man has pleaded guilty to smuggling charges in the case and has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Mayor visits medalist
Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) paid a visit yesterday to the nation’s first medalist in the Beijing Olympic Games — Chen Wei-ling (陳葦綾), who won a bronze medal in the women’s 48kg-class weightlifting competition. Her performance marked a significant improvement over her 11th place finish in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Hsu met Chen at her home and presented her with a red envelope containing a cash award of NT$20,000, plus Koji pottery artwork. He said the city government would present her with a citizen of honor award in recognition of her achievement. Chen will be the 13th resident of Tainan to receive such an award. After winning the bronze, Chen also received news that National Taiwan Sport University would hire her as an instructor.
Penghu to discuss casinos
A total of 38 forums will be held around Penghu County this fall to gather the opinions of locals on the development of casinos. The forums, scheduled to be held between next Tuesday and Sept. 22 at various locations around Penghu, including the rural islets of Jibei (吉貝), Hujing (虎井) and Niaoyu (鳥嶼), are targeted at reaching a consensus of all Penghu residents on casino development in their hometown, officials from the Penghu County Tourism Bureau said. Eight academics from National Penghu University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology are expected to join county officials and representatives of Penghu-based travel agencies at the forums to inform Penghu residents of the advantages and disadvantages of developing tourist casino hotels in Penghu. The forums came after Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) announced at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday that decriminalizing gambling in offshore areas of the country would be one of the administration’s goals.
Direct hire pact inked
Taiwan and the Philippines have signed guidelines for a direct employment program, Tsai Meng-liang (蔡孟良), the director of the Council of Labor Affairs’ Foreign Workers’ Administration said yesterday. Tsai said the nation’s representative to the Philippines, Donald Lee (李傳通), and his Philippine counterpart, Antonio Basilio, inked the agreement in Cebu late last month. Under the guidelines, direct employment will be expanded to cover not only caregivers, but also foreign workers in the manufacturing and construction industries, Tsai said, adding that application procedures would be simplified. The countries will also collaborate to reduce the number of repatriated and runaway workers, Tsai said, adding that as of the end of last month, 2,700 Filipino workers were reported missing. About 85,000 Filipinos, out of a total 358,000 foreign workers, are employed in Taiwan, the Ministry of the Interior said.