Illegal immigrant arrested
A Chinese man has been detained for entering the country illegally after paddling 3km from China’s Fujian Province to Kinmen, apparently to observe next month’s presidential and legislative elections, an official said yesterday. “I want to see your elections, with campaign flags flying all over the place,” Guo Jiyong (郭智勇), 35, told reporters after he was arrested in Kinmen on Wednesday. “Taiwan and China are one country,” he said. “How can you arrest me for illegal entry?” A coast guard official said Guo would be repatriated to China.
Temperatures plummeted in northern areas of the nation yesterday as a cold air mass moved down from China, the Central Weather Bureau said. After the mercury hit 30oC in several regions a day earlier, the bureau warned of the arrival of a cold front and a sudden onslaught of cold and wet weather. Forecasters said minimum temperatures in the north and northeast could drop to as low as 11oC over the weekend, with showers in those areas likely to continue through the first half of next week until the front moves away and temperatures rise again. However, the bureau said a milder, mostly dry weather pattern is expected for central and southern areas, with temperatures expected to range between 14oC and 26oC.
Students prefer Japanese
Japanese is the most popular second foreign language among high school students, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. In high schools, English is a required course, while Japanese is the most frequently chosen optional foreign language, followed by French, the ministry said. In this year’s fall semester, nearly 38,000 high-school students chose to study Japanese from among 10 second foreign languages, the ministry said. It said Japan’s close proximity to Taiwan and the easy accessibility of Japanese learning materials are two factors that have contributed to the growing popularity of the language.
Poop scoopers in gold rush
An innovative scheme to keep the streets of the north of the nation clean has seen thousands of citizens dutifully collecting bags of dog excrement in the hope of winning NT$6,000 in gold. More than 4,000 residents of New Taipei City (新北市) have signed up for the competition since it was launched in early August and they have so far collected 14,000 bags. “The outcome of the campaign beat all our expectations,” said Lai Tzu-hsiu (賴子秀) of the city’s environmental protection bureau. Those taking part in the scheme have been given one lottery ticket for each bag of excrement they collect.
‘Severed hand’ bilk jailed
A man who was found guilty of attempting insurance fraud by severing a friend’s hand was sentenced to 11 months in prison yesterday. The Supreme Court ruled that the defendant had helped to inflict an injury so that his friend could claim on several insurance policies. However, the 45-year-old defendant, surnamed Chen (陳), was given a light sentence because he confessed to the crime and had shown good behavior, the verdict said. The court found that in 2009, Chen paid a man NT$50,000 to knock down his friend on the street, after which Chen cut off his friend’s left hand and discarded it. The friend, surnamed Chiang (江), later filed several insurance claims, but police unraveled the scheme based on fingerprint evidence found at the scene.