Prostitution suspects caught
Fourteen Taiwanese have been arrested for allegedly coercing Southeast Asian women into prostitution, police said yesterday. The prostitution ring, based in Miaoli County, had collaborated with manpower agencies and human smuggling groups to lure the women, who were mostly from Indonesia and Vietnam, from their home countries, police said. The women were locked up and forced to work as prostitutes, even when they were ill, police said. Many were domestic helpers who ran away from their original employers. Some of the women had to service 10 or more clients a day and had been subjected to violent treatment, police said, but did not elaborate. Eleven women were rescued during a police raid on Thursday when 14 members of the ring and two customers were arrested, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said.
Chinese tourists avoid vote
China has instructed tour operators to avoid arranging tour groups to Taiwan in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 14 presidential vote, Taiwanese travel agents said yesterday. “We are not surprised by the move as it is a sensitive time ahead of the election and the [Chinese] authorities want to be cautious,” said Roget Hsu (許高慶), secretary-general of the Travel Agent Association of ROC, Taiwan. A manager at a Taipei-based travel agency, who asked to be identified only by his surname, Lee (李), said his Chinese partner agencies have been urged to refrain from sending tourists to Taiwan in the two weeks before the poll. It would be bad for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) if Chinese tourists were spotted at its campaign rallies, as the opposition could describe it as interference in the election, he said. However, calls to travel agents in Beijing indicated no new restrictions had been put in place. Nor was there any indication of new rules on the Web site of China’s aviation authority.
TNC calls for eco campaigns
The fledgling Taiwan National Congress party (TNC) said yesterday the nation’s presidential and legislative election campaigns were generating large amounts of pollution, and urged the major parties to adopt campaign strategies that minimized waste. The party estimated that if the more than 150 legislative candidates from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) used campaign flags, they would generate 4.59 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. The party also took aim at other campaign products, including the DPP’s “piggy banks” and the KMT’s “good luck charms,” saying they would continue to contaminate the environment long after the election. It urged the two parties to adopt more environmentally friendly campaign tactics.