Taxi killer sentenced
The Taiwan High Court yesterday sentenced a taxi driver to life in prison for killing his passenger after driving directly at the victim and sending him flying into the air. The court said 39-year-old Lin Yuan-sheng (林淵晟) killed the passenger and has not shown any remorse for his actions. The Taipei District Court had earlier sentenced Lin to life and the High Court upheld the ruling yesterday. Lin may appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court. On the morning of Oct. 20, Lin got into a heated argument with 51-year-old passenger Tu Tsan-hsiu (杜讚修) over whether the driver purposely took a longer route than necessary. Moments later, after Tu got out of the taxi on Taipei's Bade Road, the driver backed up his cab a short distance, waited for Tu to turn his back, then stepped on the accelerator and rammed the victim, sending him flying several meters into the air and killing him on the spot. The taxi driver turned himself in at Songshan Police Station a day later, but claimed he had “mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.”
Bangkok alert downgraded
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday downgraded its travel alert for Bangkok to orange from red for Taiwanese planning to travel to Thailand. The ministry advised Taiwanese nationals to avoid going to Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom and Ayutthaya and if they must visit those areas, to remain vigilant. The downgrade came as the confrontation between the Thai government and protesters diminished. The ministry called on travelers to stay away from the hub areas surrounding the Phan Fah Bridge and Ratchaprasong, which are still occupied by protesters. Those who encounter an emergency situation in Thailand can dial a hotline operated by Taiwan's representative office in Thailand at 002-66-81-666-4006.
Kaohsiung flights resume
Taipei-based TransAsia Airways will resume Taipei-Kaohsiung flights from May 1 for the convenience of southern Taiwan travelers who need to make transit stops at Taipei Songshan Airport during direct cross-strait flights, an airline spokesman said yesterday. Initially, the spokesman said, the carrier will offer one flight in each direction daily, using a 70-seater ATR-72 turboprop. The northbound flight will take off from Kaohsiung at 6:45am and will land at Taipei Songshan Airport at 7:45am, the spokesman said. The southbound flight will take off from Taipei at 8pm and is scheduled to arrive at Kaohsiung International airport at 9pm.
Parlor accused of bribery
A funeral parlor allegedly bribed police officers and firefighters for tip-offs about sudden deaths to get an edge over the competition, local media reported yesterday. The Te Sheng Funeral Parlor in Taipei County is alleged to have paid up to NT$20,000 for tips, enabling it to be first to handle a body at the scene of a crime or an accident, local media reports said. Six police officers and firefighters face corruption charges and are likely to be jailed for at least seven years if convicted, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported. It did not specify which charges may be brought against staff at the funeral parlor. Prosecutors investigating the case were not immediately available for comment.
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
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
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said