Lightning strikes aircraft
A Hong Kong Express Airways flight carrying 129 people to Greater Taichung made an emergency return to Hong Kong shortly after takeoff yesterday, after it was reportedly struck by lightning. The plane, a Boeing 737, took off from Hong Kong International Airport at 12:56pm, but the pilot contacted the airport and requested permission to return shortly after takeoff, saying it seemed that the aircraft had been struck by lightning. The plane landed in Hong Kong at 1:59pm with all the passengers safe and unhurt. It took off again at 4:08pm for Greater Taichung and arrived at 5:42pm.
Cafe chain gets fine
The 85oC cafe chain has been fined for violating the Employment Services Act (就業服務法) for refusing to hire a Chinese woman with a residency permit, Taipei City’s Department of Labor said on Wednesday. After a complete investigation following a complaint from the Chinese woman, the cafe chain was fined NT$100,000 for discrimination in its hiring practices at a store in Taipei City, the department said. According to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), Chinese nationals are able to work legally in Taiwan after receiving residency certificates. In response, 85oC spokeswoman Kathy Chung (鐘靜如) said the branch’s superintendent has been given administrative demerits because of the case. She said the company would file an appeal with the city government about the incident, since the rejection was a result of poor communication. Chung added that over the past eight years, the company has hired hundreds of foreign workers, including many from China and Vietnam.
Alleged China spy detained
A Taiwanese businessman based in China was detained early yesterday after being questioned a day earlier on suspicion of spying for China, officials said. The suspect, surnamed Cheng (鄭), was first questioned by the Investigation Bureau and then handed over to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for more questioning. Prosecutors gained court approval to detain Cheng on grounds that he might escape to China, where his wife owns property and Cheng has a business in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. Cheng’s wife was also summoned for questioning as a witness. The investigators said they received a tipoff from a military source that Cheng had been seeking to meet one of his previous schoolmates, now a military officer, since last year. Cheng reportedly attempted to lure the officer to a third country to meet with Chinese individuals, investigators said. Instead of leaving for China with Cheng, the officer reported the case to his superiors.
Hualien quake shakes Taipei
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 on the Richter scale shook eastern Taiwan at 9:58am yesterday, according to the Central Weather Bureau. The quake’s epicenter was about 16.9km north of Hualien County Hall at a depth of 23km, the bureau’s Seismology Center said. The strongest tremors, with an intensity of four on a five-point scale, were felt in Hualien County’s Taroko and Hualien City areas, as well as in Nanao (南澳), Yilan County, the center said. The temblor was felt with an intensity of three in several regions of central and northeastern Taiwan, and two in other regions in northern and southern Taiwan.
Police hunt diplomat killer
Dominican Republic police will spare no effort to apprehend the person who killed a Taiwanese diplomat there earlier this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The police have appointed a special commission to deal with the case, which will notify the Republic of China embassy about the progress of the investigation, ministry spokesman James Chang (章計平) said. “The police chief has noted that they will keep in close contact with Taiwan’s embassy and inform it of the investigation results,” he said. Ambassador Thomas Hou (侯平福) has also called on the police authorities to solve the case as soon as possible, Chang said. The body of Julia Ou (區美珍), a second secretary at Taiwan’s embassy in the Caribbean country, has been sent for a post-mortem examination at a national institute, Chang added. Ou was found stabbed to death in her apartment on Tuesday morning after she failed to show up at work.
Taiwan Academy in accord
Officials from the Autonomous University of Hidalgo State in the City of Pachuca in northern Mexico signed an agreement yesterday to form a partnership with the Taiwan Academy. Andrea Lee (李新穎), Taiwan’s representative to Mexico, and Humberto Veras Godoy, president of the university, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective institutions. Taiwan is Mexico’s seventh-largest source of imports and its ninth-largest export trading partner, Lee said, adding that Taiwanese high-tech firms have invested over US$600 million and have created about 30,000 jobs in the country. In the field of education, Taiwan has been providing scholarships to more than 160 Mexican students each year allowing them to study in Taiwan, Lee added.