Airplane smoker fined
A woman will be fined for smoking in an airplane, Kaohsiung health officials said yesterday. The woman has become the first local citizen to be fined for inflight smoking after an amended Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法) went into effect on Sunday, banning smoking in most indoor public areas and workplaces. The officials said the woman, identified only by her surname Chen, smoked in the restroom of a China Airlines (中華航空) plane on its way to Kaohsiung City from Hong Kong on Wednesday night. The cigarette smoke activated the smoke detector in the restroom and alarms on the plane. The woman was stopped by a crew member who knocked on the restroom door.
Taiwan donates US$8m
Taiwan has made a final payment of US$8 million to Panama in keeping with a promise to help the diplomatic ally procure a helicopter for emergency relief and anti-crime operations, the Taiwan embassy in Panama said yesterday. The payment was handed over by Taiwan Ambassador to Panama Simon Ko (柯森耀) to Panamanian Interior and Justice Minister Dilio Arcia on Wednesday. Ko said that the helicopter procurement, at a price of approximately US$10 million, was one of the bilateral cooperation projects between Taiwan and Panama. Taiwan had previously made a payment of US$2 million to purchase the aircraft, Ko said. Arcia, meanwhile, said the helicopter would be of great help in the work to improve public order in Panama and to provide emergency assistance to people living in remote areas. He also expressed gratitude to Taiwan for helping to fund the construction of a hospital in the eastern part of Panama Province and for sending medical missions to the country to provide free medical services on many occasions.
Molesting teacher fined
The Taichung District Court ruled on Wednesday that a municipal elementary school and one of its teachers who sexually molested four of his students must pay them NT$20.02 million (US$601,000) in damages. The teacher is being held at a detention center. He was sentenced to 163 years and 10 months in prison on Aug. 28 last year on charges of sexually molesting the four students 29 times from 2007 to last year. The Humanistic Education Foundation said it felt that the school should also be held responsible for the teacher’s misconduct, and the foundation filed a class action on behalf of the students to seek compensation. In its ruling on Wednesday, Taichung District Court ordered the school and the teacher to pay the four students NT$20.02 million to cover the cost of psychological therapy and compensate them for the mental distress they suffered. The school said it would appeal the case. The parents of the four students said they felt the city government should also be held partly responsible.
UK bans travelers’ food
Taiwan said yesterday the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs has recently announced that all travelers are stricly prohibited from bringing milk and meat-based food products into the country, whether they are fresh, dried, cured, cooked, frozen, powdered, canned or vacuum packed. Products made with lard, such as stick cubes containing pieces of meat, instant noodles and moon cakes, are also restricted, the Bureau of Consular Affairs said. All illegal products will be seized and destroyed by customs. Violators could also face prosecution or a fine.