Wu Shih-tsai found guilty
The Taiwan High Court found Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材), one of two key suspects in the Papua New Guinea diplomatic fraud scandal, guilty yesterday of falsifying bank statements and lying to the police about being threatened by a gunman. Wu and Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖), the other main suspect, were commissioned in August 2006 to act as intermediaries in efforts to forge diplomatic ties with Papua New Guinea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to wire US$29.8 million to a bank account in Singapore that the two men had opened. The funds were to be transferred to the Papua New Guinea government once a diplomatic communique was signed. After efforts to forge ties collapsed in December 2006, the ministry asked for the money back but Chin allegedly refused to return the funds. Wu faces 28 months behind bars on forgery and defamation charges. Chin remains a fugitive.
SIP reshuffle imminent
The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP) is facing a possible reshuffle, with spokesperson Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) and a few others facing replacement after completing two-year terms. Officials have confirmed that prosecutors Shen Ming-lun (沈明倫), Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮) and Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠) would be replaced in about two weeks. On Feb. 11 the Control Yuan asked the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office to remove Chu and Wu from all cases involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of having violated the Prosecutors Code (檢察官守則) by having “private contact with Chen during the process of the investigation.” Chen Yun-nan said yesterday that he was willing to leave: “I have not performed well in this position and should let someone else take over … I have completed my two years in office.” Speculation is rife that Eric Chen (陳瑞仁), the prosecutor who indicted former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), will return to the SIP in the reshuffle. He did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday.
IOC veteran laid to rest
Henry Hsu (徐亨), a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who passed away last month aged 98, was laid to rest yesterday at a service attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), IOC member Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) and 1968 Olympic bronze medalist Chi Cheng (紀政). Hsu’s coffin was draped with the national flag, the flag of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the IOC flag. Hsu was an IOC member from 1970 to 1988.
NCC asked to delay Web site
Lawmakers on the Transportation Committee asked the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday to postpone the launch of a Web site that would allow the public to check cellphone base station locations. KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said people would feel uncomfortable if they saw a base station near their house, regardless of the lack of evidence that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the stations are harmful. KMT Legislator Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said that even though the NCC removes 100 licensed base stations a year, he still gets protests from the public about the stations. Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) asked Chunghwa Telecom to end long-distance domestic fees because it was now cheaper to call China than some cities in Taiwan.
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up