Spy’s conviction upheld
The Taiwan High Court yesterday handed down a 17-month sentence, suspended for five years, to Lai Kun-chieh (賴坤玠), who was convicted of spying for China. In the third retrial of the case, Lai was also ordered to pay a NT$200,000 fine during his probation period. The ruling can be appealed. The court ruling noted that Lai was arrested in May 2011 while handing over a bribe of almost US$20,000 to a former schoolmate who was an army officer, surnamed Tsao (曹), who had tipped off authorities about Lai. The court said Lai had been approached by Chinese agents in February 2010 while he was working in China. After returning to Taiwan, Lai asked Tsao for secret information regarding technical specifications for missile systems.
New envoys in Taipei
Two new European envoys took up their posts in Taipei earlier this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Slovakia’s new representative is Michal Kovac, a senior diplomat who took up his duties on Aug. 14, the ministry said. Kovac has expressed hopes of deepening ties in the areas of trade, technology, culture and education, it said. Taiwan and Slovakia established reciprocal representative offices 10 years ago and recently signed agreements on e-government cooperation, avoiding double taxation, and other matters, the ministry said. Henrik Persson took office as Sweden’s top envoy on Aug. 15, the ministry said.
More flights to Urumqi
The number of flights from Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport to Urumqi, China, will increase from three a week to six, as China Airlines (CAL) expands code-sharing services with Guangdong-based China Southern Airlines, CAL said yesterday. Increasing the number of flights to and from Urumqi will allow better operations flexibility for both airlines, it said. Both airlines are members of the SkyTeam Alliance, one of the world’s largest airline alliances. Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, is the ninth city serviced under the cooperation since the two carriers started code-sharing in 2010. CAL, which operates 33 out of the 68 shared flights, said it aims to better promote the Taoyuan-Urumqi route, which was inaugurated in June. The route has proven popular, with seat occupation consistently topping 70 percent, the airline said.
Sex trafficking ring busted
Police and immigration officers yesterday busted a human trafficking ring and arrested 11 suspects on suspicion of forcing foreign women into prostitution. The officers broke into a building in Chiayi with a forklift and rescued 10 Indonesian women who were being held captive there, the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office said. Ten of the suspects arrested are Taiwanese and the other is an Indonesian woman. They were picked up in several locations in Chiayi and Greater Tainan, the office said. A gas gun, account books and six packets of drugs were also seized in the raids. The office said the traffickers were charging customers between NT$3,000 and NT$5,000 for sex. Indonesian women working in northern Taiwan who had run away from their jobs were recruited to work as hostesses by a member of the ring, an Indonesian herself, but once the women arrived in Chiayi the gang kept them locked in a residence, the office said. The gang used drugs to keep the women compliant, it said.