Drug smuggler gets life
A Belgian man convicted of smuggling drugs into the nation was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Taipei District Court yesterday. Gunther Van Eester was found guilty of entering Taiwan in July with 1.3kg of heroin hidden in a compartment in his suitcase. The Belgian, who was jobless and homeless in Thailand, had been flagged by Taiwanese investigators after he visited Taiwan twice in June as a tourist, the district court said in its ruling. After his two short visits, Van Eester returned to Bangkok and met with drug dealers, who offered him US$700 and a free return ticket to carry a suitcase to Taiwan, the court said. On arrival in Taiwan, he was detained by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, who found NT$10 million (US$327,000) worth of heroin in his suitcase, according to the court. Van Eester claimed that he was helping to deliver a suitcase of clothing, the court said in its ruling, which imposed a sentence of life imprisonment on the man. Van Eester has the right to appeal the sentence in Taiwan’s High Court.
US watching oil probe
The US is closely watching the ongoing investigation into problematic oils used in food products in Taiwan, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said yesterday — the same day that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) announced the latest on the government’s investigation. “We are watching the ongoing investigation with interest and encourage Taiwan authorities to act appropriately,” AIT spokesman Mark Zimmer said when asked about the issue. “Taiwan authorities have alerted the US to potentially contaminated exports and the US food safety offices will act according to our regulations,” he said. Meanwhile, he said that the US would like to work with Taiwan “in strengthening Taiwan’s food safety regime to ensure it provides information that is transparent and accurate, allowing Taiwan consumers to make informed choices about which foods they want to put into their bodies.” However, Zimmer did not elaborate on how the two nations could cooperate on the issue. He also said that the current food safety challenges in Taiwan do not stem from food products imported from the US.
Berlin Wall remembered
The German Institute Taipei yesterday held a series of events to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago and highlight the values of democracy. Institute Director-General Martin Eberts also gave a personal account of the lead-up to the pulling down of the Berlin Wall that in turn, led to the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. Eberts said he was on diplomatic duty in Budapest, Hungary, in the summer of 1989 and witnessed the stream of East German refugees who flooded the embassy there each day. “To experience the first opening of the ‘Iron Curtain’ was an unforgettable and deeply moving experience for me,” he said. In a prelude to a discussion on democracy, the institute also screened a film titled Liberty Train-Next Stop Freedom, a documentary about the mass escape of East German citizens into the West German Embassy in Prague. About 100 people attended the screening, including representatives from the Czech Economic and Cultural Office and the Hungarian Trade Office, who said it was a great occasion for different cultures to share their histories.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
ANOTHER IMPORT: A Filipina who arrived on Friday to visit family developed a fever on Saturday and test results yesterday were positive, making her Taiwan’s 465th case The government’s real-name mask purchasing system is to be continued until at least the end of the year, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported a new imported COVID-19 case from the Philippines. The center would continue to requisition mask production to ensure people can buy masks using the real-name system until the end of December, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman. While the CECC requisitions about 8 million masks per day to ensure there are enough for the real-name system, more than 10 million masks are produced per day