Drug ring broken up
Drug enforcement authorities in Taiwan, the US and Thailand have broken up a major drug ring in the Golden Triangle after more than one year of intensive joint tracking, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) said. The MJIB and the Criminal Investigation Bureau have been cooperating closely with Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board and the Royal Thai Police’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau, as well as the US Drug Enforcement Administration, to track down a drug ring headed by a Thai druglord of Chinese origin known as Jifan, an MJIB release said. After more than a year of investigation, agents from the five agencies raided the ring’s operational bases in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai and other areas in the Golden Triangle early on Wednesday morning, the MJIB said. The raids led to the arrest of Jifan and other key figures, including two men known as Jimao and Singhol, and the seizure of more than 10 million Thai baht (US$286,000) in drug money, it said.
‘Yellow’ alert widened
Argentina and Brazil have been added to the “yellow” travel alert category along with 22 other countries and Hong Kong for having confirmed cases of the influenza A(H1N1) virus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Travelers should take extra sanitation precautions when visiting “yellow” alert countries, the ministry said. So far, Mexico remains the only country on the “red” alert list, which means travelers should avoid non-essential trips to Mexico until further notice. For an updated list of travel alerts, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs at www.boca.gov.tw.
Boy dies of influenza
A five-year-old boy died on Thursday after fighting a bout of severe influenza for more than a month, making him the fifth flu-related fatality reported in Taiwan so far this year. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said the case had nothing to do with the current global swine flu outbreak. Taiwan is still free of influenza A(H1N1), Shih said. The boy became sick during the flu season earlier this year, Shih said, adding that none of his kindergarten classmates had contracted the virus. So far this year, 19 cases of severe flu have been reported, CDC tallies show. Although the flu season has passed, Shih said people should still maintain good hygiene habits and wash their hands frequently to avoid contracting the virus.
Group urges blood tests
As many as 50 percent of adult women tested recently by the Taiwan Heart Foundation displayed high levels of lipids in the blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease, foundation officials said yesterday. A total of 800 women volunteered to undergo the tests, which were conducted two weeks ago in the Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung regions. The tests show that half the women had total cholesterol levels exceeding 240mg/dl. Even among younger women aged 20 to 39, two to three in every 10 had high cholesterol levels, foundation CEO Huang Jui-jen (黃瑞仁) said. He said the results indicate that hyperlipidemia is not unique to older women, although the ratio of women with the problem tends to increase with age. He advised women aged 30 or older to undergo blood lipid tests at least once every three years. If the tests show abnormal results, treatment should be given and follow-up tests should be conducted every year, he said.