Free shopping cards offered
Consumers can now obtain free shopping cards and start collecting points that can be exchanged for merchandise at 2,802 stores in Taipei, according to the Taipei City Office of Commerce. Starting yesterday, participating stores will issue shopping cards on demand as part of the Taipei Shopping Festival that began earlier this month and will end in October. The cards will store customers’ shopping history and allow them to accumulate points as they spend, office director Liu Chia-chun said. The points can be used to obtain discounts at more than 200 shops and free gifts or discounts at another 100 stores, Liu said.
Raft couple to be charged
A Chinese couple who used a raft to sail from China to Kinmen are to be prosecuted for illegal entry, Taiwanese officials said on Thursday. The 76-year-old man and his 40-year-old girlfriend, who sailed from Weitou in Fujian Province, were discovered by the coast guard near Kinmen. The man, surnamed Wu (吳), claimed he wanted to defect to Taiwan to “answer the call of freedom.” Wu said the idea of trying to reach Taiwan occurred to him when he was on a business trip to Xiamen City in Fujian last year, from where he could see Kinmen, just a few kilometers away. Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said that once the couple’s identities are confirmed, they will be sent to the Kinmen District Prosecutors Office and face charges under the National Security Act (國家安全法).
Cross-strait flight prices cut
Travelers flying direct to Beijing and Shanghai during the Lunar New Year holiday period will save nearly 40 percent on ticket prices after the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) asked two major local carriers to cut their prices, the CAA said yesterday. China Airlines and EVA Airways were asked last month to reduce their before-tax prices to less than NT$10,000 (US$344) for tickets to Shanghai and under NT$12,000 for a 14-day round-trip flight to Beijing. The new prices will also apply during peak periods such as the Lunar New Year holiday, with the new prices 20 percent lower for regular periods and nearly 40 percent cheaper for the Lunar New Year than last year, officials said. The adjustments do not apply to flights that include cooperation with China-based airlines, the CAA added.