New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) yesterday called for the resignation of China Airlines Ltd (CAL, 中華航空) chairman Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙) after the company denied being complicit in an alleged smuggling case involving a National Security Bureau (NSB) agent.
Huang on Monday said that the official, Wu Tsung-hsien (吳宗憲), attempted to smuggle 9,200 cartons of cigarettes worth more than US$200,000 when he returned to Taiwan with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) from a state visit to the Caribbean earlier in the day.
Wu, who accompanied Tsai on her trip, allegedly pre-ordered the cigarettes using China Airlines’ online duty-free store with help from the airline, Huang said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
It was written on the order that the cigarettes were to be picked up on the return of the president’s airplane, but they were never delivered to the plane, he added.
Instead, the cigarettes were kept in the airline’s storage facility until they were transported to five trucks that later joined Tsai’s motorcade leaving the airport, he said.
While China Airlines on Monday insisted that it had followed procedures in handling the purchase, Huang said that the company was “full of lies” and avoided taking responsibility.
It sold Wu 9,200 cartons of cigarettes, despite custom laws stipulating that only certified tobacco sellers can import more than five cartons of cigarettes, he said.
The airline also left no records that the cigarettes were being kept in its storage facility, he said, adding that the cigarettes had not been logged into the facility’s inventory and that no records indicated that the cartons had been moved to the plane or returned to the facility.
Huang said that shortly before the news conference yesterday, a China Airlines representative had told him that the chairman knew nothing about the matter and was unable to provide any information about the case.
“If that is the attitude of the chairman, I would say please resign,” he said.
Huang added that National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維) still owes the public an explanation.
“Please tell us if anyone in the council is involved in the case. How can the secretary-general of the National Security Council be hiding this whole time?” he asked.
Two other people on the flight ordered duty-free goods that were not sent to the plane for pickup, Huang said.
The legislator added that he could not reveal further details as they were part of an ongoing investigation.
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758
The UK is determined to work with its allies to ensure that Taiwan can defend itself, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday, a pledge that drew expressions of gratitude from Taipei. “What I’ve been clear about is that all of our allies need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that is very, very important,” Truss said in a CNN interview, when asked whether the UK was willing to match the US’ pledge last week to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of an attack by China. Truss said her government was working with its G7 allies,