Police and Forestry Bureau officials on Thursday arrested 13 people and raided a dozen locations in connection with a group that allegedly specializes in illegal logging, prosecutors said yesterday.
The group is allegedly led by a man surnamed Cheng (鄭), 49, and includes his wife, son and other relatives, Hsinchu prosecutor Su Heng-yi (蘇恒毅) said.
“In the raids, we uncovered blocks of valuable wood. We also seized a modified handgun, several chain saws, backpacks with frames, sets of hand tools and records of financial transactions,” he said.
The freshly cut wood identified by bureau officials as Taiwanese incense cedar, stout camphor, Taiwanese red cypress and other protected species was waiting to be transported to towns for sale, Su said.
Hsinchu prosecutors said they have collected sufficient evidence to press charges relating to theft, illegal sale of stolen goods and contraventions of the Forestry Act (森林法).
Cheng and his family would also be charged for contravening the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例), as they allegedly operated an organized criminal ring with networks for poaching, transportation and underground sales, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors in coordination with the bureau and local police raided locations in mountainous areas of Hsinchu, Yilan and Nantou counties, as well as Taoyuan and Taichung cities.
Police began monitoring the group after receiving several tip-offs, finding that Cheng and his family have been living in remote communities and are familiar with local roads and trails.
They were also in contact with known groups of illegal poachers and loggers who are involved in underground sales channels, prosecutors said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘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
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,