Taiwan quick take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 3

Aborigines

Yu pledges new TV station

As the Hualien County commissioner by-election draws closer, Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday pledged to spend NT$330 million to establish an Aboriginal television channel to benefit the nation's 210,000 indigenous people. Yu made the pledge yesterday afternoon while visiting Hualien County's Hsiulin township -- one of the county's three Aboriginal townships whose residents are Kaoshan Aborigines. Kaoshan Aborigines are the indigenous people living in mountain areas, as opposed to Pingpu Aborigines who live on the plains. The county is the home to the nation's third largest Kaoshan Aboriginal tribe, the Amis. Yesterday marked Yu's fourth trip to the county in the last two months. In addition to the establishment of the TV channel, Yu promised to improve television reception signals in the county's mountainous areas by the end of the year.

Media

Jail term sparks outcry

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned yesterday a suspended jail term handed to a Taiwanese journalist for revealing military secrets and called on the government to denounce the ruling. Taiwan's High Court sentenced Hung Tsi-cheng (洪哲政) on Friday to 18 months in jail suspended for three years after finding that two news reports he had written for the now-defunct Power News daily were based on "classified" information from the military. "It is outrageous that [Hung Tsi-cheng] has been sentenced for reporting on matters of clear public interest," said CPJ Asia program coordinator Kavita Menon. "We call on the Taiwan government to reconfirm its commitment to press freedom by denouncing this ruling and ensuring that journalists are free to conduct their work without fear of government harassment."

Narcotics

Locals found with drugs

Cambodian narcotics authorities have arrested two Taiwanese men for an alleged attempt to smuggle 8.5kg of opium onto a flight bound for Taipei, officials said Friday. Huang Shun-liang, 28, and Wu Hung-te, 25, were about to board Mandarin Air flight 878 at Phnom Penh's airport when X-ray machine officials searched their luggage and found something suspicious, said chief of airport immigration Chhay Bona. He said the two suspects told Cambodian customs officers before the arrest that they were carrying perfume to Taipei in 10 boxes. He said two of 20 bags contained amphetamines and the 8.5kg of opium.

Diplomacy

Friendship bridge completed

The Taipei-funded bridge of Costa Rica was formally inaugurated on Friday after about three years in the making, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. "The Republic of China government expects to see that the completion of the bridge as a means to foster Costa Rica's economic prosperity and the development of the Nicoya region," said the foreign ministry. President Abel Pacheco and Taiwan's ambassador Wang Fei (王飛) jointly hosted the inauguration ceremony on Friday, the ministry said. The 780m suspension bridge, or the Friendship Bridge Bridge of Taiwan, spans the Tempisque river connecting San Jose with the Costa Rican Nicoya peninsula, and is expected to reduce travel time from the capital to Nicoya from two hours to 90 minutes by car. The US$27 million bridge project was carried out by Taiwan's Retired Servicemen Engineering Agency.