The government is in less than 18 months to decide on a terminal station of a planned high-speed rail (HSR) extension to Yilan County, as it assesses all proposed routes for the line, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday. Wang made the remarks at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee, which asked him to brief legislators on the ministry’s progress on the project. CECI Engineering Consultants, which the ministry contracted to perform a comprehensive assessment on the extension, recommended four possible sites for the terminal station: Yilan Station, Luodong Station (羅東), Sicheng Station (四城) or a new station near Yilan County Hall. The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday reported that there are two additional proposed routes. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus at the Yilan County Council suggested that a new station be built in downtown Yilan, while the ministry proposed a station be built at a site south of Yilan County Hall, the newspaper said. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said that Wang did not mention the two additional sites in his briefing. After CECI published an assessment in May, the ministry said it preferred the terminal station to be at Yilan Station, but changed its preference to Sicheng Station in August, Hung said. “Now you are telling everyone that there are fifth and sixth options. Are you playing a city-building video game or Monopoly?” Hung said. The ministry pivoted to Sicheng Station because it realized that the route to Yilan Station would overlap with a planned Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) overpass, Hung said, adding that CECI should have worked with the consulting firm planning the line. Wang said the ministry would still consider the four terminal stations recommended by CECI, as they were carefully reviewed by the firm. “The two other options were brought up while we were communicating
‘TERRIBLE SIGHT’: Polystyrene boards and buoys, as well as broken cages and nets, which drift from oyster farms, have marred Taiwan’s coasts, conservation groups said
A Taipei-based ocean conservation group on Tuesday urged the government to quickly address the growing problem of trash from oyster farms drifting ashore. Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation CEO Lin Dong-liang (林東良) said the government needs to amend laws and offer subsidies to reduce waste, as more garbage washes onto the northeastern coast from the southwest, where the majority of oyster farms are based. Over the past three years, an increasing amount of abandoned cages and pieces of polystyrene boards used by farmers to grow oysters have been carried to the northeastern coast by ocean currents, he said. On the west coast, large areas have been covered with broken pieces of polystyrene boards or buoys, which Lin called a “terrible sight.” Due to the diverse types of discarded fishing gear being found along the west coast, Lin called for a concerted effort between central and local authorities to swiftly tackle the marine trash problem. According to the foundation’s Fishery Debris Handbook of West Taiwan, more than 60 percent of marine trash is produced by oyster growers in Tainan, and Changhua, Chiayi and Yunlin counties. Citing the handbook, Yen Ning (顏寧), chief executive of environmental consultancy IndigoWaters, said that dumped oyster farming gear has often been found along the coasts of southwestern Taiwan, as well Penghu County to the west of Chiayi, while more abandoned fishing gear has been found in the waters off Hsinchu and Miaoli counties. Although recycling facilities for discarded fishing nets have been established along coastal areas, there is an urgent need to regulate the use of polystyrene boards and buoys, she said. She called for a ban on the use of polystyrene boards in the next two to three years, along with subsidies to help oyster farmers shift to using buoys made of other materials. Yen said that encouraging oyster growers to use other types of
The Control Yuan on Wednesday censured a junior high school in Taoyuan for reportedly covering up the sexual abuse of students by a baseball coach, who allegedly raped and harassed 22 children. The Control Yuan said in a statement that the school’s principal, former principal and dean of students hired the coach, whom it called unqualified, and worked to impede an investigation into the school’s misconduct. Although the Control Yuan withheld the name of the school, it identified the coach by the surname Huang (黃). The coach is being investigated by law enforcement over charges of sexual assault and using corporal punishment against students, acts that allegedly started in 2016, the Control Yuan said. Control Yuan members Wang Mei-yu (王美玉), Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容), Chang Chu-fang (張菊芳) and Yeh ta-hua (葉大華) launched an investigation into the school after being assigned to the case in September 2019, it said. The probe revealed that the two principals had allowed Huang to house students in the school’s kendo dojo, a structure that was not approved for use as a dormitory, and that they secretly called a staff meeting to collude in their testimonies should they be questioned, it said. The school officials contravened the Gender Equity Education Act (性別平等教育法) and the Regulations on the Prevention and Handling of Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, or Sexual Bullying on Campus (校園性侵害性騷擾或性霸凌防治準則), it said. The Control Yuan approved the members’ recommendation that corrective measures and criminal complaints be brought against school officials, in addition to requesting that the Taoyuan City Government take additional disciplinary action, it said. Only two out of 22 alleged victims pressed charges against Huang, the Control Yuan said, adding that authorities must improve the mechanisms for children to report sexual abuse.
This year’s online-only Taiwan LGBT Pride parade on Saturday next week is to feature interactive “stages” with celebrity performances and drag queen shows, organizer Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association said. In place of the event’s normal parade through downtown Taipei, the 19th edition of the event would include five interactive stages — Main Stage, Party Float, International Pride Issues, Parade Issues and Chat Box — accessible through the event’s Web site, event.taiwanpride.lgbt, the association said. The lineup for this year’s event includes celebrity performances, drag queen shows, chat rooms and online shopping from 2pm to 5:30pm, it said. The organizers last month announced that the parade would be held virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Association spokesperson Tai Yu-hsun (戴佑勳) on Tuesday said that even though the nation’s COVID-19 situation has been improving, it was too late to reverse preparations for an online event, which started when domestic cases were still climbing. “When we were planning for the parade earlier in the year, we were just about to enter a level 3 COVID-19 alert. So, if we made any changes now, it would affect the agreements we have with our collaborators,” Tai said. Restrictions on public gatherings were introduced after a nationwide level 3 alert was announced on May 19 following a surge in domestic cases. With daily local case numbers regularly in the single digits, the Central Epidemic Command Center on July 27 announced a return to a level 2 alert. About 130,000 people attended last year’s parade, which followed a record-breaking turnout of 200,000 in 2019 — the same year Taiwan became the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Association chairman Fletcher Hong (小鯨) said that despite recent progress, society has not yet reached true equality for people in the LGBT community. “We often see areas, such as in shops or restrooms, labeled as
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates
Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year, Taiwan has banned most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, and required those who do enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. The government further tightened its border restrictions in May in the wake of a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections. Exceptions to the visitor ban can only be made in emergencies or for humanitarian reasons, but travelers have to apply in advance to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) for permission to enter the country. As of yesterday, about 5.69 million people, or 24.3 percent of the population, had been fully vaccinated, with 15.2 million people, or 65 percent of the population, having received one dose, CECC data showed. MIXING VACCINES Separately yesterday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that mixing certain brands for first and second doses would be allowed for all age groups after the 13th round of COVID-19 vaccinations, depending on the availability of vaccine supplies. The ministry’s report, submitted to the Legislative Yuan, said that its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had decided in July that people in categories 1 to 3 of its vaccination priority list who were inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine for their dose could receive an mRNA
The latest long-term, large-scale study indicates that multiple species of birds in Taiwan have declined sharply over the past decade, the Endemic Species Research Institute said yesterday. The institute said that the Taiwan Breeding Bird Survey is conducted annually by 400 volunteers throughout the country, and the latest analysis correlated the data from 2009 to last year. The population of Taiwan rosefinch, an endemic species under conservation dropped by 45 percent, institute assistant research fellow Fan Meng-wen (范孟雯) said. Climate change has likely led to the loss of high-altitude habitats where Taiwan rosefinches dwell, she said. Styan’s bulbul — another of the country’s endemic species — experienced a 2 percent population loss, Fan said, adding that since Styan’s bulbuls inhabit cities and suburbs, human activity likely contributed to the species’ decline. In addition, urban development along the east coast, where most Styan’s bulbuls live, has resulted in cross-breeding with light-vented bulbuls from the country’s west, Fan said. The life-release of light-vented bulbuls in the east, part of a religious practice, has exacerbated the loss of distinctiveness by cross-breeding, she said. Several species that dwell on farmland and in underbrush declined precipitously, including 83 percent of barred button quails, 73 percent of Himalayan prinias and 74 percent of vinous-throated parrotbills, Fan said. Urban development, predation by cats and dogs, and pollution of the environment by agricultural herbicides and pesticides are possible causes for the population losses, she said. Some invasive species have bloomed, including the chestnut-tailed starling and the white-rumped shama, whose populations have grown by 7,618 percent and 1,573 percent respectively, Fan said. Competition from these invasive species is expected to ratchet up the pressure on endemic birds in the struggle for survival, she said. While the COVID-19 pandemic has since last year curbed human activity and boosted wildlife, Zoology Division head Chang Shih-wei (張仕緯) said these effects are only temporary. Without
NOISE TICKET: Nearly 90% of people in a poll support the initiative of cameras taking snapshots of noisy vehicles, and offenders being fined
Nearly 700 tickets for vehicle noise have been issued this year through a new “noise camera” initiative that officials say has proven popular with the public. Starting on Jan. 1, local governments nationwide began installing devices that automatically take a snapshot of any vehicle emitting more than 86 decibels of noise on roads with speed limits of up to 50kph, or in excess of 90 decibels on faster roadways. Fines range from NT$1,800 to NT$3,600 (US$64.49 to US$128.98), with a possible additional fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$30,000 if the vehicle is found to have been illegally modified. From Jan. 1 to the middle of last month, 696 tickets had been issued, Environmental Protection Administration Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) told a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee on Wednesday. About 90 percent were first-time offenders and therefore received the lowest fine, he said, adding that the most tickets were issued in New Taipei City. The agency aims to deploy 100 cameras by the end of the year, adding to the 50 cameras already set up in 20 cities and counties across the nation, he added. The policy has won widespread support from the public, Chang said. In the agency’s survey, 58.3 percent of respondents said they were “very much” in favor of the policy, while 31.2 percent were moderately in favor, Chang said. In a Yahoo poll, a comparable 85 percent of respondents approved of the cameras, he added. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) was encouraged by the positive feedback, but recommended some improvements as the policy expands further. As drivers might learn to avoid roads with fixed cameras, Hung suggested that the agency invest more in mobile stations that could be moved wherever needed. He also requested that the agency investigate appropriate locations for noise cameras in New Taipei City and allocate funding
The Maritime and Port Bureau yesterday said it had inadvertently destroyed 2,000 copies of a picture book by Taiwanese artist Chen Min-yu (陳旻昱). Chen, widely known by his pen name Yumichen (玉米辰), is often compared to Japanese animator and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki. He was invited by the bureau to publish a book on lighthouse keepers, which the bureau completed printing in April. However, on Wednesday night, Chen wrote on Facebook that Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) had ordered that the book be reprinted after he took over the post on April 20 from Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍). Lin, as the transport minister at the time, had written a preface for the book. “Apparently, whatever the minister says goes,” Chen wrote. In response, Wang wrote on Facebook that he had told the bureau that the artist and the bureau deserve the credit for the publication of the book, and that he did not want it to feature a picture of him or a preface written by him. He added that he had told bureau Director-General Yeh Hsieh-lung (葉協隆) that the bureau must keep the books that have already been printed. However, the bureau said it found out yesterday morning that all 2,000 copies of the picture book in its warehouse have been accidentally destroyed. Civil servants periodically destroy or shred old government documents, the bureau said, adding that Wang and Yeh did not know that the books had been destroyed. The bureau said that it had spent NT$300,000 to print the book, and a new version has been reprinted. “We decided to reprint the books after the printing firm told us that changing the cover of a hardcover book is technically unfeasible,” the bureau said. The new version of the book has the name of the bureau — rather than the Ministry of Transportation
Taiwanese nonprofit organization One-Forty, which is devoted to migrant workers’ rights, on Wednesday won a Good Design Gold Award for its education kit, which was praised for its contribution to facilitating networking among migrant workers and with Taiwanese. The “Book & Host Project for Migrants” education kit is a free package of physical and online learning materials provided to migrant workers to help them adjust to Taiwan in a timely manner, and initiate quality interactions with locals, the organization said. The kit, which has been given to more than 3,000 families in Taiwan since its inception in 2019, was chosen from among 5,800 designs around the world as one of the 20 winners of the Japan-based Good Design Gold Award, a news release by One-Forty says. Aside from promoting networking between migrant workers and with Taiwanese, the kit is also “excellent, as it “not only provides practical knowhow in consideration of migrants’ cultural and religious backgrounds, but also covers their later lives with various interviews and reports,” the Good Design Gold Award Web site says. Written in Indonesian, it is also the first “migrant-oriented” Chinese-learning material, which not only includes samples of useful conversations, such as seeing a doctor, buying groceries and expressing feelings, but also introductions to Taiwanese culture, the organization said. One-Forty wrote on Facebook that it was surprised and thankful for the recognition. It added that it was happy to have the opportunity to encourage people to think about how to get along with people with different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. “The project is not a short-lived attempt, but a five to 10-year, long-term action,” it said. Funded mainly through donations, it pledged to provide more than 1,000 kits every year across the nation, including rural areas and offshore islands. Founded in 2015, One-Forty has dedicated itself to the empowerment of migrant workers in
SOCIETY Body of young girl found A young girl who was the last person still missing after six people were swept into New Taipei City’s Beishih River (北勢溪) during a group outing on Saturday last week was found dead yesterday. A body was found in the downstream part of the river and confirmed to be an eight-year-old girl surnamed Liu (劉), who was part of a group of 16 adults and 15 children on an outing organized by a Taipei-based outdoor experience firm. The group set out for the historic trail before turning back due to heavy rain. On their way back, the group was attempting to cross the river via a check dam when two adults and four children were swept into the water. The check dam was not part of the designated walking route and lacked safety features such as railings. SOCIETY Mass illness at girls’ school A total of 142 students and faculty members at Sacred Heart Girls’ High School in New Taipei City were taken to hospitals in the city and in Taipei early yesterday after coming down with stomach pain and diarrhea, in what is believed to be a case of mass food poisoning, the school said. The 141 students and one teacher, who live in the school’s dormitories, fell ill on Wednesday evening after eating meals provided by a catering service contracted by the school, principal Sophie Wei (魏雪玲) said. As of press time, they were all in stable condition and 53 students had been discharged, Wei said. The New Taipei City Department of Health has collected samples of the food for analysis and is awaiting the results. Meals will be provided by a different catering service for the time being, the school said. MUSIC Mini symphony premieres The National Symphony Orchestra is to premiere the second piece in its “One-minute
French Office in Taipei Director Jean-Francois Casabonne-Masonnave talks about his country to a group of students at National Sun Yat-sen University during a visit to Kaohsiung yesterday. He said that French and Taiwanese see France slightly differently.
Firefighters from the Taipei City Fire Department take part in a drill yesterday at the Sinwei Building on Xinyi Road after a deadly fire at an old building in Kaohsiung.
A woman yesterday displays a limited edition mask and props made by the Dapeng Bay Tourism Industry Development Alliance in Pingtung County’s Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area to promote a series of religious activities scheduled to take place this month and next month to welcome the “Wang Yeh” gods.
AVAILABILITY: Those who failed to make an appointment in phase 1 can make a booking during phase 2, with the city offering about 330,000 slots, a deputy mayor said
Taipei residents who are eligible for the 12th round of COVID-19 vaccinations, but failed to book an appointment in the first phase can still book an appointment in the second phase, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said yesterday. The 12th round covers people eligible for their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and second doses of the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. It consists of two phases, with phase 1 inoculations being administered from tomorrow to Wednesday next week, and phase 2 from Thursday next week to Nov. 3. Booking for the first phase began on Monday for the BioNTech vaccine, and on Tuesday for the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines. However, many Taipei residents complained that they could not find any available slots in Taipei shortly after the booking system opened at 10am on Monday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday released a chart showing the vaccination slots offered by the six special municipalities for the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, as well as the number of eligible recipients in the six cities, for the first phase. The chart showed that the vaccination slots offered by Taipei would only cover 49.2 percent of the city’s eligible recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while other cities would be able to meet between 59.57 percent and 100.46 percent of their eligible recipients’ demand. As for the BioNTech vaccine, Taipei only offered 39.53 percent of the city’s demand, while other cities offered between 73.99 percent and 88.82 percent. Tsai yesterday said that the chart released by the CECC only showed part of the story, and has hurt the feelings of healthcare workers in Taipei who have worked so hard every day to vaccinate the public. The CECC informed Taipei that there would be about 410,000 eligible recipients for phase 1, but Taipei can only provide about 273,000 slots during this
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four imported COVID-19 infections, but no local cases or deaths, as it unexpectedly called off its 2pm daily news conference. Since a local outbreak started in mid-May, the CECC has held a news conference at 2pm every day to report on the COVID-19 situation and policy updates, with the exceptions of the Double Ten National Day and a typhoon day last month. However, the center at 12:43pm informed reporters that the daily news conference would be canceled, as Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), who heads its disease surveillance division, had to attend a joint meeting of the legislative committees. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is the deputy head of the center, and CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, also had to attend a meeting of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee, it added. As CDC Deputy Director- General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, was also on official duty, the news conference had to be called off, the center said. At 2pm, the CECC issued a news release and a video in which Lo spoke about the latest developments. The four imported cases were travelers who between Oct. 6 and Sunday arrived from Hungary, Indonesia, the Philippines and the US, Lo said. Three of them were vaccine breakthrough cases, Lo said, adding that one of them had received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while the other two had received two doses each of the Sinovac vaccine. The other imported case tested positive for COVID-19 in the US in the middle of August, Lo said. The woman received two doses of the
Domestic air passengers departing for offshore islands from airports in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chiayi County will not be asked to take rapid tests for COVID-19 anymore, as the pandemic has shown signs of easing in Taiwan proper, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said on Tuesday night. Due to the spike in domestically transmitted cases of COVID-19 in Taiwan proper in May, people traveling to Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang (Matsu) counties had since June 2 been asked to take rapid COVID-19 tests at the five airports if they had symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 virus within two weeks of departure. Those who did not have symptoms could also take the test voluntarily. The Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang county governments on Thursday last week lifted the requirement for mandatory rapid testing for all inbound travelers, the CAA said. “Following a careful assessment by the Central Epidemic Command Center, we have decided to suspend the operations of rapid testing stations at domestic airports in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chiayi County,” it said. However, airport terminals will continue to display signs reminding passengers not to board flights if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and should be tested at hospitals immediately, the agency said. Passengers will still have to fill out health declaration forms when they check in and submit them to airline ground crew, the agency said. If passengers declare that they have symptoms of COVID-19, airlines are entitled to stop them from boarding based on the terms listed in the standardized contract governing the transport of domestic air passengers, the CAA said. Airport security guards will assist passengers with symptoms in seeking medical attention, it said. “We will closely monitor changes in the disease prevention policy stipulated by the CECC and will reopen airport rapid testing stations if necessary,” it added.
CULTURAL PROMO: A Taiwan Pavilion at the fair aims to present the richness and diversity of local publishing, film and TV content to world publishers, TAICCA said
The Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) is showcasing more than 400 publications from Taiwan at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which opened in Germany yesterday. The Taiwan Pavilion — offered online and in person — was curated in cooperation with the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, the agency said. Its theme is “To Live is to Create” (創作即生活．生活即創作), the agency said, adding that the aim of the exhibition would be to showcase Taiwan’s cultural brand. Taiwanese visual artist Page Tsou (鄒駿昇), who in 2011 won the prestigious International Award for Illustration presented by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Fundacion SM, designed the main visual of the pavilion, the agency said. The agency partnered with the book fair’s THE ARTS+ program to present the in-person exhibition titled “The Scent of Taiwan,” which was inspired by traditional medicine cabinets, it said. Aromatherapist June Wen (溫佑君) developed five types of scents for the display to correspond with the themes of design, cultural diversity, cuisine, local traditions, and urban and natural landscapes, it said. The section showcases 20 popular works, including comics such as Yong-Jiu Grocery Store (用九柑仔店) and The Summer Temple Fair (神之鄉), it said. A total of 435 original works from Taiwan are included in this year’s lineup at the physical exhibition, the agency said. As part of the online pavilion, organizers have produced a short video, titled “Taiwan’s Book Market” (台灣出版面面觀), to introduce international publishers to the local publishing industry, it said. The Frankfurt Book Fair is the leading trade fair for the international publishing and content industry, the agency said, adding that this year’s edition is themed “Re: Connect.” About 1,500 exhibitors from 74 countries are expected to take part in the fair, which runs until Sunday. “Reading is a daily activity that has not been impacted by the [COVID-19] pandemic,” agency chief executive officer Izero Lee (李明哲) said. The Frankfurt exhibition
Five Taiwanese films have been selected to be screened at the London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF), which starts today and runs through Sunday next week. The five films are Chung Mong-hong’s (鍾孟宏) The Falls (瀑布), Edward Yang’s (楊德昌) Taipei Story (青梅竹馬), Chen Yu-hsun’s (陳玉勳) My Missing Valentine (消失的情人節), Chang Yao-sheng’s (張耀升) A Leg (腿) and Ko Chien-nien’s (柯貞年) The Silent Forest (無聲). Chung presented a story from a female perspective for the first time in The Falls, which was selected for the Orizzonti competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, the Ministry of Culture said on Tuesday. The film, an intimate drama about the shifting relationship between a mother and daughter set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, would be making its British premiere at LEAFF on Saturday, the festival program shows. As part of LEAFF’s retrospective selection, Taipei Story would be screening on Tuesday next week. First released in 1985, the film is considered an important part of the Taiwanese New Wave movement, the ministry said. The romantic comedy My Missing Valentine, which won five awards at last year’s Golden Horse Awards, would be making its London debut on Wednesday next week. Meanwhile, A Leg, which is included in the LEAFF’s competition lineup, is making its European premiere on Saturday next week. Starring Gwei Lun-mei (桂綸鎂) and Tony Yang (楊祐寧), the dark comedy is Chang’s directorial debut, the ministry said. Inspired by real events on a school campus, Ko’s first feature film, The Silent Forest, is making its London premiere on Oct. 31, the ministry said. LEAFF is the largest Asian film festival in the UK, the ministry said, adding that the five Taiwanese films are among 34 that are to be shown at the event. LEAFF is one of the main platforms through which British audiences gain an understanding of developments in East Asian
NO PRICE DROP EXPECTED: Taiwanese telecoms face higher costs for setting up 5G networks, which they factor in when setting prices, the NCC’s vice chairman said
The government has limited means when asking telecoms to lower 5G fees, despite customer complaints, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. The nation’s 5G services came under scrutiny at a meeting at the legislature’s Transportation Committee last week, as the technology’s penetration rate remained at about 12 percent since telecoms launched services in June last year. Lawmakers said that one of the main reasons that people did not upgrade their 4G services to the faster standards was the high rates, urging the NCC to meet with telecom representatives to negotiate their prices within two weeks. NCC Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) and other commissioners are to meet with telecoms at 2pm today, NCC Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) told reporters at the commission’s weekly media briefing. Chen had told lawmakers that he would use the meeting to convey users’ expectations for cheaper 5G rates, but Wong said that the commission lacks the administrative tools to force telecoms to lower their rates. None of Taiwan’s telecoms has met the criteria to be considered a significant market player in the 4G or 5G markets, which would require a market share of 40 percent or more, he said. “As such, telecoms can set retail service prices on their own, without having to secure approvals from the NCC,” Wong said, adding that users are free to choose telecom services based on their needs. Although Taiwan was one of the first countries to issue 5G licenses, its 5G ecosystem has not yet matured in terms of availability and service coverage rate, Wong said. Compared with other countries, Taiwan’s telecoms spent more money securing 5G licenses and constructing 5G networks, which they take into account when setting retail prices, he said. “We can tell telecoms during the meeting that they should inform their customers about 5G service coverage rates before they sign contracts. Otherwise,
KILLED IN TAIWAN: Chan Tong-kai, who is accused in the case that sparked protests over an extradition draft bill in 2019, ‘never faced consequences for murder,’ she said
The mother of a murdered Hong Kong woman yesterday blasted the authorities for allowing her daughter’s killer to live as a free man, a case that has festered because China does not recognize Taiwan. Poon Hiu-wing (潘曉穎), 19, was pregnant when she was strangled by her boyfriend, Chan Tong-kai (陳同佳), during a Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan in 2018. The murder, which Chan has admitted to, sparked a chain reaction that led to huge democracy protests the following year and has been a source of embarrassment for the Hong Kong government. Poon’s mother — who has never revealed her name — held an emotional news conference outside the government headquarters yesterday, calling on authorities to either fly Chan to Taiwan or prosecute him locally for murder. “The Hong Kong government believes that this felon, who can kill again at any time, is fit to walk the streets and threaten people’s lives,” she told reporters. Chan had “never faced consequences for murder,” she said, after it was revealed earlier this month that he had left police protection and was free to live a normal life. Hong Kong prosecutors said that they had no jurisdiction to try him for murder. They also declined to send Chan to Taiwan. After Poon’s murder, the territory tried to pass a law that would allow extraditions to both Taiwan and mainland China, but that sparked protests by Hong Kongers who feared that the law could see them disappear into mainland China’s opaque courts. Those rallies soon morphed into huge and often violent democracy demonstrations, which convulsed the territory for seven straight months in 2019. Chan served a short jail sentence in Hong Kong on money laundering charges, as he was in possession of Poon’s credit card on his return from Taiwan. It was during those proceedings that he admitted to killing her. Chan previously said