Welfare banquets held
More than 30,000 homeless and Aboriginal people attended free year-end banquets held in 13 locations around the country on Wednesday, representing a record-high attendance for the annual event since 1990. The banquets — sponsored by the Huashan, Genesis and Ren-an Homeless Social Welfare Foundations in Taipei, Greater Taichung, Greater Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Greater Tainan, as well as Hualien and Chiayi counties — and the distribution of red envelopes containing NT$200, plus a NT$100 coupon, cost a total of NT$35 million (US$1.17 million). More than 2,000 volunteers helped to serve and provide some warmth to the needy ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday on Jan. 23. Hosting the year-end banquets was not easy this year, especially because they ended up with 30 percent less then their budget goal, the organizers said.
Suspect’s body cremated
The body of Chang Chih-yang (張志揚), a Taiwanese man who was the main suspect in the murder of two of his Taiwanese language school classmates in Tokyo, was cremated in the Japanese city of Nagoya yesterday. Chang’s parents bought a pair of shoes as their last gift for their son before his cremation. They were scheduled to return to Taiwan with Chang’s ashes this morning. Lin Chih-ying (林芷瀅) and Julia Chu (朱立婕) were stabbed in their dormitory on Jan. 5. Chang slashed himself with a knife and bled to death on Monday while in police custody after he was located by police at a theater in Nagoya. Japanese police said Chang admitted to killing Lin and Chu with a knife and that he was remorseful. The ashes of the two victims were brought back to Taiwan by their families on Wednesday following their cremation in Tokyo.