The Taiwan High Court yesterday meted out a lighter punishment for Huang Chao-kang (黃照岡), also known as Huang Chih (黃琪) and Charlier Huang, for credit card fraud involving two luxury hotels in Taipei.
In a decision widely seen as too lenient, the High Court reduced his punishment to 20 months in prison, which can be commuted to a fine, meaning he does not have to serve time.
The Taipei District Court last year found Huang guilty of seven counts of fraud against Regent Taipei and Sheraton Grand Taipei hotels, and sentenced him to a mandatory 22-month term, plus 12 months, which could be commuted to a fine of NT$360,000 (US$11,577).
Huang, 27, was found guilty of defrauding the two hotels by posing as Fendi Tsai (蔡佳玲), daughter of billionaire Tsai Chen-yu (蔡鎮宇) of the Cathay Financial Group.
An investigation found that in July and August of 2016, Huang called and paid for rooms at Regent Taipei and Sheraton Grand Taipei by pretending to be Fendi Tsai .
Hotel employees testified that Huang was given special rates and discounts usually accorded to VIP clients, as they thought it was Fendi Tsai who was making the purchase.
However, they later caught on to the scam and reported him to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, which arrested Huang.
During the first trial, Huang claimed that he could not be charged with fraud as his stays at the hotels did not cause them financial losses.
He also asked for leniency, saying he had booked the rooms because he wanted to please his boyfriend, surnamed Chou (周), so they could spend some time together.
In the second hearing at the High Court, Huang’s lawyer said that his client and the two hotels had reached a settlement.
As the hotels’ management had agreed to forgive Huang, the High Court judges ruled in favor of a reduced sentence.
Huang is said to be the nation’s most famous con artist and had served jail time for fraud.
He first gained notoriety when he was in his teens by pretending to a master Tarot card reader and allegedly deceived then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with a private consultation session in September 2008.
In Huang’s other famous cases, most of them involving credit card fraud, he had posed as Taiwanese film legend Brigitte Lin (林青霞), an executive for Voice of Taipei radio station and as Wei Hong-fan (魏宏帆), a second-generation member of the Wei family who controls Ting Hsin International Group.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb