Gay couple turned away
A leading gay rights activist was turned away by a government agency yesterday when he and his partner tried to register as married, following a failed attempt by another same-sex couple. Chi Chia-wei (祁家威), dubbed the “gay rights godfather” for his dedication to gay rights for the past 30 years, and his partner were rejected by a household registration office in Taipei on the grounds that only a man and a woman can by law register as a married couple. The 55-year-old vowed to appeal to the city government and the courts as part of efforts to legalize gay marriage in Taiwan. The campaign suffered a setback in January when Nelson Chen (陳敬學) and his partner, Kao Chih-wei (高治瑋), dropped their appeal at an administrative court against a government agency that had rejected their marriage registration in 2011. Chen said he had “lost his faith in the judiciary,” but added that death threats via Facebook had been among the factors that prompted him to abandon the appeal.
Eight indicted for net scam
Four Chinese and four Taiwanese were indicted yesterday on charges of defrauding companies of more than NT$10 million (US$335,570) in a product procurement scam. The scam revolved around a plan that created a fake market for a type of high-tech fishing net. Posing as representatives of Chinese companies, the fraudsters allegedly first contacted Taiwanese firms last year pretending to be seeking distributors for the fishing nets, according to the indictment issued by the Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office. The fraud ring later sent fake buyers to Taiwan, who pretended to have an interest in purchasing such nets in bulk, the indictment said. The Taiwanese companies then placed orders with fake Chinese suppliers and were sent sub-standard products. Fourteen companies fell for the scam, each paying between NT$500,000 and NT$1 million for fishing nets.
India travel warning issued
Taiwanese women intending to visit India should be alert to their personal safety, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The ministry issued the advisory amid reports of sexual assaults in India against foreign female tourists, including women from Switzerland and Britain. Women should not travel alone in India and should avoid sparsely populated areas if they do go to the country, the ministry said in a statement. In the interests of safety, female tourists in India should use pre-paid airport taxis and taxis that line up outside hotels, instead of taking street cabs or pedicabs, the ministry said. In the event of an emergency, travelers can dial 100 for a special line that connects to the Indian police, while mobile phone users can call 112, the ministry said. Taiwanese can also seek the assistance of Taiwan’s representative office in India, it added.
T-shirt gives away fugitive
A fugitive who knew no English has been arrested because police were curious about the word “Wanted” printed on his T-shirt, officers said yesterday. The man, identified only by his surname, Wu, was wanted on drug abuse charges. He was arrested last week in Huwei Township (虎尾), Yunlin County, police said. An officer who passed the elementary-level nationwide English proficiency test approached Wu because of his T-shirt, police said. Questioning and a check on Wu’s status led to the arrest. Wu told police the T-shirt was a gift from his son and he would not have worn it if he had known what “Wanted” meant.