Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday vowed to step up anti-narcotics efforts after he visited former premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), who urged him to place great importance on anti-drug efforts.
Lai paid a morning visit to Chang’s Kaohsiung residence and the former premier told him that drugs have increasingly become a pressing problem in Taiwan.
“The Philippines claims that Taiwan is the origin of drugs [entering its territory]. This is a very humiliating situation for Taiwan,” Chang said, referring to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s comments on Wednesday that the Taiwan-based Bamboo Union and Hong Kong-based 14K triad are behind the proliferation of drugs in his nation.
Drug use in Taiwan is also a grave concern, as there are more than 60,000 prisoners serving sentences for drug-related charges, accounting for 45 percent of the total number of inmates, Chang said.
“Social security is a priority of my Cabinet, and drug prevention is the most important project,” Lai said.
The government will take new drug-prevention approaches to prevent drug trafficking from other nations by increasing coast guard and customs inspection capacity with a concerted effort by the Coast Guard Administration and the ministries of justice and the interior, Lai said.
Laws will be revised to toughen the penalties for drug-related crimes, while authorities redouble their efforts to investigate and seize illicit substances, Lai said.
Educational campaigns will also be increased to prevent student drug abuse, Lai said.
As a Christian, Chang has worked with church networks to rehabilitate people convicted of drug offenses and to help inmates reconnect with their families so that improved family ties can help them after their release from prison, Lai said.
Chang, who served as premier under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from 2000 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2008, said he approved of the economy-oriented politics of the new Cabinet, Lai said.
Lai also visited Chen in his Kaohsiung residence to pay his regards before heading to Chang’s residence, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.
During Lai’s visit, Chen’s hands were shaking involuntarily, and a urine bag was visible outside his pants, indicating that the former president has been ill, Hsu said, apparently responding to a comment from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Friday that Chen had psychosomatic symptoms before actually falling ill.
Lai and Chen did not discuss Ko’s comments, but simply focused on the two men’s daily lives, with Lai wishing Chen good health, Hsu said.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37
ARMS RACE: Two DPP lawmakers said that China’s development model differed from Taiwan’s, as it aims to become a global hegemon, while Taiwan seeks to protect itself Taiwanese national defense experts are split on how Taiwan should respond to the ever-growing budget of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with some advocating for Taiwan to increase defense spending, while others say that little can be done. The Legislative Yuan approved NT$358 billion (US$12.1 billion) for national defense spending across fiscal 2020, a 3.47 percent increase compared with last year, while China’s military budget this year is NT$5.4 trillion, more than 15 times that of Taiwan. Regardless of whether the government adopts a zero-based budgeting method for national defense spending — in which all expenses are justified and approved each