Tourist permits criticized
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) yesterday criticized the Immigration Bureau for issuing two groups of Chinese tourists permits to enter the country after they arrived at Kaohsiung International Airport on Wednesday. Because they did not have permits to enter Taiwan before departing China, the Immigration Bureau issued permits to the tourists when they arrived in Kaohsiung, Lee said. Lee said the bureau had jeopardized the country’s sovereignty, security and public health, and had treated Taiwan like it was part of China. DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said the Immigration Bureau’s conduct was equal to granting Chinese tourists visa on arrival, which is against regulations.
Official raises drywall alert
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉) yesterday urged the government to examine whether drywall products imported from China last year contained harmful chemicals. Lin called the government’s attention to news reports from the US that defective drywall products imported from China and used by US builders in more than 100,000 homes posed a health hazard to homeowners and apartment dwellers. Citing customs data, Lin said Taiwan imported 840 tonnes of drywall products from China last year. “If the drywall material is tainted, 12,000 households in Taiwan could have been affected,” he said, adding that the government should adopt emergency measures to determine whether the drywall products imported from China contained harmful substances.
Prosecutors donate money
Since the beginning of the year, the Chiayi Prosecutors’ Office has given scholarships to 150 students using money taken from criminals, a source said on Thursday. Money for the scholarships — which ranges from NT$1,000 per semester for each elementary school student to NT$2,000 per semester for each junior high school — came from fines paid to the Chiayi Prosecutors Office by perpetrators of minor offenses for deferred prosecution. The scholarship program began in 2007, benefiting 90 poor students that year, said a worker with the Hsin Kang Foundation of Culture and Education (HKFCE), which participates in the program. Starting in 2006, the Chiayi Prosecutors’ Office began providing charitable groups with money to help pay for social services to local residents, he said. The aim is to help children from low-income families stay in school, he said.
Hakka outlet opens
The Council for Hakka Affairs yesterday inaugurated the nation’s first permanent Hakka merchandise outlet, featuring certified Taiwanese Hakka products at the Taiwan Handicraft Center in Taipei. Council Minister Huang Yu-chen (黃玉振) said at the inauguration ceremony that the outlet would provide a marketing channel for about 300 domestic businesses that produce more than 500 items with a touch of Taiwan’s Hakka culture. He said all merchandise sold at the outlet had met the council’s quality control standards and was awarded the “Hakka Taiwan” recognition stamp. Eleven more outlets will be opened nationwide this year. “We’re also in discussions with some trade fair organizers about the possibility of presenting certified Hakka Taiwan merchandise to the international market,” Huang said.