Vote-buying arrests made
Greater Kaohsiung judges yesterday ordered three people detained on suspicion of vote-buying for an Aboriginal candidate. Prosecutors said that Ko Wu-ta (柯武達), acting director of the Namasiya District (那瑪夏) office in Greater Kaohsiung, was suspected of engaging in vote-buying between October and November last year. They said that Ko had asked Chou Wei-ping (周維平) to deliver cash to Chou Hsiou-mei (周秀美), an elementary-school principal who distributed the money to several people — including a man named Lu Bao-shen (盧保生) — to conduct vote-buying for the candidate. Prosecutors said Lu was suspected of bribing a number of voters, giving them NT$2,000 each. Chou Hsiou-mei is now in detention. Meanwhile, in Hualien County, nine people from Sioulin Township (秀林) were arrested on suspicion of being involved in vote-buying. Prosecutors seized NT$300,000 in cash and a number of health food products from one of the suspects’ residence. They said the nine suspects had handed out between NT$2,000 and NT$2,500 in cash to bribe voters. Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office head Lin Ching-tsung (林慶宗) said prosecutors had received more than 50 complaints about vote-buying, of which five were “very suspicious” and were being investigated. To avoid affecting the elections, the Ministry of Justice has asked prosecutors not to name candidates being investigated for vote-buying.
Expert saves NT$6.8m
A forensic expert said yesterday she saved a total of NT$6.8 million (US$226,560) in damaged banknotes after months of effort, the largest single collection of such notes in Taiwan. Liu Hui-fen (劉蕙芬), who has worked for the Investigation Bureau for 30 years and has trained herself to be a “jigsaw expert” since 2006, accepted NT$7.2 million water-damaged notes in May last year from a man surnamed Huang (黃) living in Greater Tainan. Liu first used an ultrasonic vibrator on the banknotes and managed to recover NT$1.85 million. Another month of using the vibrator recovered NT$2.5 million more. Liu then spent five months to restore NT$2.45 million. Huang, who lost about NT$400,000 in unrecoverable notes, expressed gratitude to Liu. The bureau dealt with 12 such cases in 2006, when the service first began to be offered, and by last year it dealt with 83 cases, said Hu Hsing-yung (胡興勇), a bureau section chief.
Free firecracker CDs
The Taipei City Government is giving away free CDs of exploding firecrackers ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday as part of efforts to avoid air pollution. It has long been a tradition to set off firecrackers to celebrate the beginning of Lunar New Year. However, the smoke causes air pollution, while the paper left behind also pollutes the environment, city environmental officials said yesterday. The city government has prepared the CDs for people who want to have a festive atmosphere without disturbing their neighbors or polluting, the officials said. The CDs are available from the Department of Environment Protection, or can be obtained from the Web site of the Environment Protection Administration at http://ivyl.epa.gov.tw/noise/DD/D-01.htm, they said.
CPC inks deal for LNG
CPC Corp, Taiwan has signed a long-term contract to buy natural gas from Australian supplier Ichthys LNG. CPC said it planned to buy 1.59 million tonnes of liquified natural gas (LNG) annually for 15 years, beginning in 2017 at the earliest.