Taiwan Quick Take

Sun, Dec 29, 2002 - Page 3

■ WeatherTourists crowd Mt. Hohuan

More than 20,000 tourists flocked to Mount Hohuan in central Taiwan yesterday in order to see the largest snow accumulations on the mountain in years. The influx of tourists had caused a traffic jam as long as 30km on the road leading to the mountain. The cold mass that has been hovering over the nation the past few days has caused continuous snow on the mountain. Crowds of tourists flocked to mountain on the weekend as the snow accumulation reached 10cm. Yesterday's severe traffic congestion on the mountain was not relieved until 5pm, when the police began prohibiting vehicles from entering. A number of ecotourists was forced to return without seeing the snow. Meanwhile, about 30 children visiting the mountain suffered from high-altitude sickness but were in stable condition after being admitted to first-aid stations, according to tourism officials.

■ Crime

Police seize firearms

Police nabbed two suspected firearms dealers, including a Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau staff member, and seized a large stash of smuggled firearms in a pre-dawn raid yesterday in Kaohsiung. The two suspects were identified as Tsai Ming-chang (蔡昌明), 45, a sailor with the harbor bureau, and Lin Yung-yuan (林勇源), 49, who is believed to be a firearms broker. Police also seized 15 pistols, 828 rounds of ammunition and more than 10 bank passbooks. Police said they suspect that nearly 100 guns smuggled through Tsai may have flowed onto the black market. After more than five months of tracking, police managed to nab Tsai and Lin while they were allegedly trading smuggled firearms at a back alley in Kaohsiung's Kushan district at around 3am. Police uncovered an Italian pistol and 80 bullets in Lin's travel van. They then raided Tsai's residence in the vicinity and discovered 397 rounds of ammunition in a secret cave in the garage.

■ Finance

Chen Li-an runs into trouble

Chen Li-an (陳履安), a former president of the Control Yuan, admitted in Beijing yesterday that his garment company in China faces serious financial woes. Chen, 65, said his business in the southern province of Guangdong faces cash-shortage problems as certain people have failed to honor their investment promises. "I have traveled to Beijing to seek assistance to bail out my company," Chen said. "I have managed to get a loan of 3 million yuan (about US$670,000) to temporarily relieve my company's financial difficulties," he added. Chen, known for his devotion to Buddhism, said he still needs aid from various quarters. He is set to return to Guangdong today to discuss with his employees how to resolve the firm's financial problems. Chen, who also once served as the Taiwan's minister of economic affairs and as minister of national defense under the KMT, said he never learned of the hardships of private businesses during his days in Taiwan.

■ Defense

New laws ranked as top story

The implementation of two new defense laws to integrate military command and administration has been selected as Taiwan's top military story of the year, the Military Journalism Research Association announced yesterday. Members of the association picked Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming's (湯曜明) landmark visit to the US in March to attend a defense summit as the year's second most important military news story. Agencies