Drugs seized at airport
A large shipment of ketamine was seized at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Saturday, the largest amount ever confiscated from an air shipment, the Aviation Police Office said yesterday. The drugs, disguised as desiccants, were found hidden in women’s shoes in four batches of cargo that arrived from Hong Kong early on Saturday, the police said. The 225kg of ketamine had a street value of NT$500 million (US$16.72 million), according to police. The recipient of the cargo, a man surnamed Huang (黃), was arrested later on Saturday and handed over to prosecutors yesterday for questioning, the aviation police said. Authorities have been cracking down on ketamine trafficking amid concern at the high rate of drug abuse among students and the health dangers it poses. Under the nation’s antidrug laws, manufacturing, transporting and dealing ketamine is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison.
License agreement signed
Taiwan and Canada’s Prince Edward Island have signed an agreement in which each side will recognize driver’s licenses issued by the other. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Toronto said the agreement was signed on Dec. 13. From that day, people who have held Taiwanese driver’s licenses for sedans, trucks, buses or articulated vehicles for at least two years and who have residency on Prince Edward Island can apply for the Canadian province’s Class Five driver’s license without taking an examination. People who have held Class 1 to Class 5 licenses issued by Prince Edward Island for more than two years and who have held Taiwanese residency for at least one year can apply for a Taiwanese B-category driver’s license for a sedan within one year of entering the nation, according to the agreement. Those who qualify can submit an application to the Directorate-General of Highways or Access PEI, the one-stop location where provincial government services are provided on Prince Edward Island.
Berlin to show local films
Three Taiwanese films, including one by this year’s winner of best director at the Golden Horse awards, Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮), are scheduled to be shown at the Panorama program of the annual Berlin International Film Festival. Among the first 19 films chosen so far are Xi You (西遊) by Tsai, Bai Mi Zha Dan Ke (白米炸彈客) by Cho Li (卓立) and Bing Du (冰毒) by Midi Z (趙德胤). The three showings at the festival, which starts on Feb. 7, will be the world premieres for each film. Fifty fiction and documentary films will also be chosen for the Panorama program. The Panorama selection’s target audience includes parties interested in buying the rights to the films.
Barbie visits Taoyuan
A life-size Barbie went on display for the first time on Saturday in Taoyuan County. The 175cm-tall doll will be on display at the TaiMall shopping center until Feb. 16 to show the fashion icon from a different perspective, mall general-manager Miao Yen-mei (苗延梅) said. The Barbie is the largest in the world and is on display for the first time ever, Miao said. The doll, dressed in a white gown, is being displayed in a section of the mall that simulates a pink cruise ship. As part of the show, visitors will be allowed to take pictures with the Barbie and to dress like her, Miao said. The mall has invested more than NT$5 million (US$167,000) in the exhibition.