Officials charged with graft
Five customs officials, along with 17 customs brokers and importers, and a legislative aide, were indicted by prosecutors yesterday in what could be one of the biggest corruption scandals ever uncovered in the Directorate-General of Customs (DGOC). Among those indicted was Lu Tsai-yih (呂財益), former deputy chief of the directorate. Prosecutors are seeking a 16-year jail term for him and recommended that he be stripped of his civil rights for eight years. The other four indicted officials are Department of Valuation director Shih Chung-mei (史中美), staff member Chen Yu-chu (陳玉珠) and Keelung Customs Office employees Cheng Chang-ta (鄭張達) and Lin Tung-ying (林東瑩). The officials, led by Lu, are suspected of colluding with customs brokers and importers to help smuggle banned products into the country, prosecutors said. They say that on Oct. 28 last year, Lu accepted bribes of NT$300,000 from a customs broker through then-legislative assistant Chang Sheng-tai (張勝泰). Lu later returned the money, they said.
Peace unlikely: US report
China’s growing military power lowers the likelihood of a peaceful resolution to the tensions across the Taiwan Strait, according to a draft report by a US congressional commission. However, increased economic and trade interaction between the two sides reduces the possibility of war “in the near future,” the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in the final draft of its annual report. China “has progressed substantially” in military modernization since 2009, including flight testing its J-20 stealth fighter, its first aircraft carrier and the world’s latest anti-ship ballistic missile, the report said. Such modernization gives China the military advantage, “making it less likely that a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan issue will occur,” the report said.
Money donated to Thailand
The government yesterday said it has donated US$100,000 to flood-stricken Thailand and has also formed a task force aimed at helping Taiwanese in that country. With the country suffering its worst flooding in half a century, the financial losses of Taiwanese businesspeople there could reach billions of dollars, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. A final group of 23 Taiwanese traveling in the kingdom would return home today as originally planned. The government issued its highest-level “red” travel alert for Thailand on Friday last week. Meanwhile, the Thai-Taiwan Business Association (TTBA) on Wednesday established a relief aid network to provide assistance to Taiwanese enterprises and expatriates in the kingdom affected by the flooding.
Ceiling banger charged
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday indicted a woman surnamed Yang (楊) on charges of coercion for hammering on her ceiling 102 times in half a year, leading to a complaint from her upstairs neighbor, surnamed Hsieh (謝). The notice of complaint said that 59-year-old Yang, living on the fourth floor of an apartment building in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), was suspected of having made noises through the night, though Yang denied the charge and said it was Hsieh who made the ruckus. Hsieh also accused Yang of intimidation, saying Yang threatened her with violence, but Yang denied the charge. Prosecutors did not charge Yang with intimidation because of a lack of evidence.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,