A National Communications Commission (NCC) proposal to appropriate about NT$15.5 billion (US$544.41 million) from funds allocated for the Executive Yuan’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program to subsidize telecoms building 5G infrastructure faced strong objections from opposition parties at a plenary session at the legislature in Taipei yesterday. A proposal by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to slash the subsidy for telecoms was rejected, with that amount included in the infrastructure budget. New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said that the funding for 5G construction was unnecessary. The NCC would have a better chance of securing lawmakers’ approval if it were to submits rules governing the use of the funding, Chen said. Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) questioned the rationale of subsidizing 5G infrastructure, which is owned by telecoms. The program’s funds should be used for government-owned infrastructure, Jang said. The commission defended its proposal in a statement issued on Monday evening, saying that the funding would help telecoms accelerate construction of cell stations for the 5G system. Countries worldwide are competing for progress in 5G and domestic infrastructure would be critical to maintaining the nation’s competitiveness in the digital era amid a reshuffling of the global industrial chain, it said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has listed 5G technology development as one of the nation’s six core strategic industries, so it has allocated additional funding to accelerate the construction of 5G infrastructure, the commission said. Previously, telecoms had planned to build about 16,000 5G cell stations in five years, but with funding from the infrastructure program, they would be able to build 39,000 stations within two-and-a-half years, it said. Likewise, the 5G signal coverage rate would be raised from 50 percent in five years to 85 percent in two-and-a-half years, it said. The action plan for 5G development, which was approved by the Executive Yuan in 2019, authorizes the
The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a special budget of NT$229.83 billion (US$8.07 billion) for the third stage of the government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. The funding for the third phase, which began this year and runs through next year, was approved after NT$169.65 million was deducted from the original budget. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Oct. 6 last year told a legislative session that funding for the third phase would be allocated to infrastructure projects slated to be completed by 2025 to accelerate Taiwan’s digital development, and improve the urban-rural allocation of resources to boost rural infrastructure development. The legislature passed a special budget for the first phase of the program in 2017 and 2018, slashing it by NT$1.8 billion from the original budget of NT$108.9 billion, and approved NT$223 billion for the second phase in 2019 and last year after deducting NT$4.5 billion from NT$227.5 billion. The government launched the program on July 7, 2017, to build infrastructure for national development over the next 30 years that would facilitate transportation, water supplies, green energy and smart technology, as well as to balance advancements in urban and rural areas. It also provides incentives to encourage births, improve food safety and nurture talent.
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families
The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in population increase, adding 19,770 people. The figures are not unusual, as Taiwan’s population is declining, said Chen Liang-chuan (陳亮全), a former professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Disaster Management at Ming Chuan University in Taipei. As rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, “it is difficult for young people to start families here,” he said. Taipei Department of Civil Affairs statistics show that the difference between the number of births in 2019 and last year was less than 2,500, but more than 34,000 people moved away, which shows that the population decline was due to societal, not natural factors. Wu Chung-hsing (吳重信), head of population policy at the civil affairs department, said that the exodus is to be expected. Given the population density in Taipei, public transportation expansion and flexible real-estate options, it is natural that people would move to New Taipei City, Taoyuan or other places where housing is cheaper, Wu said. In a 2019 survey, the civil affairs department found that most former Taipei residents moved to New Taipei City’s Tamsui (淡水) or Sanchong (三重) districts, he said. Rezoned areas near Banciao, Jiangzicui, Xinzhuang Fuduxin and other stations on the MRT lines linking Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing the histories of authoritarianism and public space in Taiwan and Poland. The second panel on Friday next week would feature Su Ching-hsuan (蘇慶軒), a postdoctoral fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, and author Hu Shu-wen (胡淑雯) discussing biases inherent in records from authoritarian sources. The remaining five lectures by authors and researchers would investigate topics ranging from informers and state violence, to pathologized suffering in Brazil and the lingering embodiment of past evils. In its announcement of the series on Thursday last week, the commission said that “martial law” and “white terror” are not abstract concepts, as many who lived through them are alive today, each with their own story. With the release of documents, Taiwanese have a means to gradually break free from this “labyrinth of memory,” but these records must be interpreted with knowledge of their biases and limitations, the commission said. It chose to share these stories with authors and readers in the hope that exploring and escaping the maze would enable Taiwanese to clarify their collective history and bring more richness to future writing, it said. “What can we learn today through the hindsight of history?” it asked. The Taipei International Book Exhibition opens on Tuesday next week and runs through
A former prosecutor with the now-defunct Special Investigation Division (SID) surnamed Chang (張) was released on bail yesterday after being questioned about an alleged fraud scheme, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said. Chang was released on NT$1.5 million (US$52,685) bail and barred from traveling overseas, prosecutors said. His wife was released without bail and was also barred from traveling overseas, the office said. Chang, who is a lawyer, and his wife were questioned, and their home and office were searched on Monday amid allegations that Chang was involved in real-estate investment fraud. The couple persuaded investors, including the owner of a local construction company surnamed Lee (李), to buy land in Australia with promises of high returns, prosecutors said. However, Chang had never acquired the land he was selling, prosecutors said. He allegedly falsified bank records and a real-estate purchase contract, and used them to convince investors that the purchase was ongoing, prosecutors said. Chang earned illicit profits of A$13 million (US$10.03 million), they said. The investigation is ongoing and prosecutors were to speak with Chang’s son, who is not in Taiwan, the prosecutors’ office said. The SID was established in 2007 under the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office to investigate corruption by high-ranking officials. It was formally abolished in 2017 and its responsibilities transferred back to prosecutors after a string of controversies.
The government would more strictly monitor the construction of offshore wind farms to protect marine animals, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday. The government would use an automatic identification system for ships as well as other technological tools to protect the animals, it said. The developers of 24 wind farm projects have since last year begun construction on land and offshore after passing the agency’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) reviews. However, as many of the wind farms off the west coast are near the habitats of Taiwanese humpback dolphins, conservationists have been calling for more efforts to monitor the projects. The EPA is tasked with monitoring whether the developers comply with the promises they made during their EIA reviews, and it works with other government agencies to improve its monitoring capabilities, given it has no ships, Bureau of Environmental Inspection Deputy Inspector-General John Chiang (姜祖農) told a news conference in Taipei. For example, the EPA since 2019 has been working with the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) to establish marine ecology monitoring standards, he said. In addition to using uncrewed aerial vehicles to monitor construction, the agency has partnered with the Maritime and Port Bureau to use automatic identification systems to check if the developers dispatch ships as promised, he said. While the promises made by the developers vary from case to case, they are all required to dispatch observation ships around their construction sites when driving piles into the seabed to prevent vessels from hitting marine animals, Chiang said. In 2019, the bureau fined developers of Formosa 1 — the nation’s first operational wind farm off Miaoli County — NT$1.5 million (US$52,685 at the current exchange rate) for failing to dispatch observation ships, Chiang said. Last year, it fined the developers of the Yunneng wind farm off Yunlin County NT$400,000 after their observation ships were found to
National Yang-Ming University on Monday said it has identified five key genes that provide critical insights into the evolutionary history and adaptation of the Han population in Taiwan as well as its susceptibility to diseases. The five genes are CTNNA2 (catenin alpha 2) and LRP1B (LDL receptor related protein 1B) in chromosome 2; CSNK1G3 (casein kinase 1 gamma 3) in chromosome 5; ASTN2 (astrotactin 2) in chromosome 9; and NEO1 (neogenin 1) in chromosome 15. “All five candidate genes identified in our study appear to have [multiple] effects and connections to various disease susceptibilities,” the university said in a news release. Diseases or complex traits associated with LRP1B variants, for example, include childhood obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and various types of cancer, the university said. Disease susceptibility differs greatly between populations and appears to be correlated with human population history, it said. “Understanding the genetic ancestry, population substructure and migration history of people who live in the same geographic region may allow us to better characterize the admixed ancestry for each individual genome, providing critical information to facilitate genome-wide association studies for mapping disease-causing variants,” the university said. Ko Wen-ya (可文亞), a professor at the university’s Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Genome Sciences, said the genes are linked to metabolic functions and are also related to certain diseases. The study discusses the possible role of each gene in adaptive evolution and connections with disease susceptibility, Ko said. “Different ethnic groups have genes inherited from different ancestors,” he said, adding that understanding Taiwan’s unique genetic origin and evolutionary adaptation can better help the nation develop precision medicine.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said it has ordered TTY Biopharm Co Ltd (台灣東洋藥品) to recall 9,000 vials of a cancer drug after they were found to have been contaminated by extraneous material. The drug, Gemmis Injection, is sold in 38ml vials and is usually used in combination with other medicines, such as gemcitabine and paclitaxel, to treat cancer of the lungs, pancreas, bladder or breast in specific cases, the FDA said. The FDA urged people using Gemmis not to stop using it on their own and to ask their doctor to prescribe alternate medication. The contamination was discovered after a hospital notified the FDA last month, Medicinal Products Division head Hung Kuo-teng (洪國登) said. The specific extraneous material has not yet been determined, but TTY Biopharm has been instructed to investigate the matter and submit a report to the FDA, he said. The company must complete the recall by Feb. 5, Hung said. TTY Biopharm in a statement said that it has informed all hospitals and pharmacies about the issue, and asked them to stop using the drug, adding that it would recall the medicine by the end of this week. Only batch number LTW2015 was found to contain extraneous material, the company said. It said it would continue to improve quality controls, process management and personnel training, and demonstrate a responsible attitude toward drug safety. If the firm fails to complete the recall by the deadline, it could face a fine of up to NT$5 million (US$175,617) under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法).
WIDE PARTICIPATION: Nearly 80 up-and-coming artists are to compete for the Art Future Prize, and the top three winners would be featured at the Art Future fair
The third edition of the contemporary art fair Art Future is to open in Taipei on Feb. 5, presenting the works of more than 450 local and international artists, including Japanese artists Moe Nakamura, Ayako Rokkaku and Yayoi Kusama, the organizer said. Nearly 50 art galleries, alternative spaces or schools are to participate in the event, the Art Future Executive Committee said in a statement. Taipei’s Artdoor Gallery, Cloud Gallery, FreeS Art Space, Galerie Grand Siecle, IT Park Gallery, Liang Gallery, and Yiri Arts; Taichung’s Art Ile, Kuan Art Space, and Yami Art Space; and the Taiwan Contemporary Lacquer Association, are some of the participants, it said. The fair is to feature works by some of the most sought-after artists in the auction market, including Nakamura, Rokkaku and Kusama, the committee said, adding that more than 1,000 works are to be on display. Nakamura’s 2014 piece titled Face #3 and Rokkaku’s 2017 screen print Hayaumare March are among the works to be shown at the fair. Established in 2019, Art Future is a combination of a contemporary art fair and an international awards scheme aimed at promoting emerging artists in Asia, it said. It is divided into the “Young & Emerging Section” and the “Modern & Contemporary Art Section,” and presents the Art Future Prize to Asian artists aged 40 or under, it said. In the “Young & Emerging Section,” FreeS Art Space would be showcasing works by artists Huang Sung-wan (黃崧菀), Chen Wei-chen (陳為榛) and Wu Wei-ting (吳瑋庭), while IT Park Gallery would be exhibiting works by artists Huang Xuan (黃萱), Chiu Yi-ming (邱譯民) and Kung Pao-leng (龔寶稜), it said. Alternative spaces, such as FreeS Art Space and ITPark Gallery, have given many well-known artists their start, the committee said. Our Arts, a gallery founded by the New Taipei City-based National Taiwan University of Arts, is to display
Limited-edition mugs bearing the images of old Kinmen County banknotes have become popular with the county’s residents, who have been lining up to buy them, the kiln producing the mugs said. Kinmen Official Kiln, which is the nation’s only government-run kiln, last month began producing the mugs bearing the image of an old NT$10 Kinmen banknote. After they became hugely popular with locals, the kiln began producing mugs bearing images of NT$50 and NT$500 Kinmen banknotes in the hope that they would become popular gift items over the Lunar New Year holiday. The Kinmen-only banknotes were used in the county from 1952 to 1989 to integrate the county’s economy with the rest of Taiwan, while mitigating the potential economic risk to Taiwan if Kinmen were to fall into communist hands. The banknotes were issued by Bank of Taiwan and were identical to standard New Taiwan dollar bills, but bore the statement: “Only for use in the Kinmen area.” “When Kinmen County Councilor Tsai Shui-yu (蔡水游) brought a mug printed with a US$1 bill on it to the factory I was reminded of wartime Kinmen and had the idea for the mugs,” kiln manager Yang Su-tai (楊肅泰) said. Yang said that for him, Kinmen’s special currency is more unique than US dollar bills. “It is symbolic of the front line and the efforts ... to protect the nation’s economy,” he said. When the bank stopped issuing the bills in 1989, the banknotes slowly began to disappear, he said, adding that the mugs are a way to remember that part of history. Making the mugs is a three-step process, he said, adding that each step involves firing the clay at very high temperatures. Founded in 1962, the kiln has been commissioned to make replicas of valuable ceramic pieces for the National Palace Museum.
Miaoli prosecutors said they are investigating an Indonesian caregiver on suspicion of negligent homicide after she allegedly refused to help an elderly woman she was hired to care for following a fall. A man, surnamed Hu, in Miaoli County’s Tongsiao Township (通霄) on Monday said that his family had hired the caregiver, 43, to provide round-the-clock care for his 74-year-old mother who had suffered a stroke. At about 1am on Tuesday last week, when the nation was under the effect of a cold front, his mother got up from bed to go to the bathroom, but slipped and fell, Hu said. She asked the caregiver, who slept in the same room, for help, he said. Surveillance footage from the apartment showed the caregiver get out of bed and approach her mother, but instead of helping she allegedly said: “You only suffered a stroke, why cannot you stand up on your own?” Hu said. The elderly woman struggled on the ground for about 20 minutes, during which she lost her balance again and hit the back of her head against the bed frame, he said. The caregiver eventually helped her go to the toilet and back to bed. At about 9am, a family member found his mother unconscious and rushed her to hospital, Hu said. She was diagnosed with an intracranial hemorrhage and died on Saturday. Hu said the caregiver did not fulfill her responsibility of caring for his mother and compounded that failure by not informing the family of her fall in a timely manner. The delay meant precious time was lost to save her life, he said. “How could she have erred so egregiously, it is outrageous,” Hu said. After an initial investigation, prosecutors said they suspect that the caregiver might have committed negligent homicide, but have not yet indicted her.
Armed forces personnel walk behind military vehicles during an exercise in Hsinchu County’s Hukou Township yesterday.
A group of firefighters from the Hualien County Fire Department display their new European-made fire suits at a news conference in the county yesterday. Each suit costs about NT$60,000 and can withstand temperatures in excess of 800°C.
READY TO ADAPT: If the COVID-19 situation changes, adjustments would be made to the festival, which is to be held in an open area this year, the transport minister said
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday said that his ministry has not yet considered canceling the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Hsinchu City, adding that it would make adjustments depending on changes to the COVID-19 outbreak. Lin was responding to questions from the media about whether the Tourism Bureau might consider canceling the annual flagship tourism event due to a cluster infection at a hospital in Taoyuan. The festival would be held in an open area in downtown Hsinchu this year, Lin said on the sidelines of a tourism forum. The Tourism Bureau and Hsinchu City Government would make adjustments based on the situation, as well as the Central Epidemic Command Center’s assessment of the outbreak, he said. Both would make an announcement if there is any change in plans, he said. “The question is not whether the festival should be canceled. It should be how the event should proceed now,” Lin said. While containing the outbreak remains the No. 1 priority, people need to carry on with their lives, he said. The theme of the festival, “Riding the wind while chasing the light (乘風逐光),” expresses people’s hope of welcoming a bright future after the pandemic, and matches the government’s goal of enforcing disease-prevention measures, Lin added. Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) said in the opening speech of the forum that the pandemic has presented Taiwan with an opportunity to transform the domestic tourism market. Prior to the pandemic, people had complained about huge crowds, traffic congestion and public toilets at tourist attractions, he said. “The pandemic has left previously outbound tourists — about 18 million per year — unable to travel abroad. The travel expenses from this group of people could potentially reach NT$800 billion [US$28.08 billion], and a majority of them chose to spend [their money] in Taiwan last
The Kaohsiung MRT metropolitan railway system posted an operating loss of NT$100 million (US$3.51 million) last year, due to a sharp decline in ridership amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) said yesterday. After three years of profit, the city’s MRT was hit by a 26 percent drop in daily ridership, from an average of 178,000 in 2019 to 132,000 last year, said the KRTC, which manages the system. The steep drop in ridership was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and negatively affected the system’s operations, said Wang Po-yan (王柏雁), head of KRTC’s public relations division. The MRT system became profitable from 2017 to 2019, and its employees received pay raises, after reporting years of operating losses since its launch in 2008 due to low passenger volumes. Since the start of this year, the passenger volume has risen slightly to 135,000 per day, but a much higher volume would be required to begin making a profit again, Wang said. To boost ridership, the KRTC is offering a 90-day unlimited pass for NT$3,000, until June, targeting mainly office workers and students who use the MRT frequently, he said. Meanwhile, to help the MRT weather the effects of COVID-19, the Kaohsiung City Mass Rapid Transit Bureau has reduced the rent for the land being used by KRTC for the system. Separately, the Kaohsiung City Transportation Bureau reported a drop of nearly 20 percent in ridership on city buses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that people are not going out much and are using their own vehicles when they do.
The Taiwan Literature Base (臺灣文學基地), situated in the best-preserved Japanese colonial-era housing complex in Taipei, would be open to visitors from today, the Ministry of Culture said yesterday. The newly restored site at No. 27, Jinan Rd Sec 2 in Zhongzheng District (中正) is an expansion of the Qi Dong Poetry Salon (齊東詩舍), which has been run by the Tainan-based National Museum of Taiwan Literature (NMTL) since July 2014, the ministry said. The space, which consists of seven historical buildings occupying an area of 300 ping (992m2), would be a gathering place for authors, readers, publishers and critics, where creative energy would be concentrated, it said. One of the buildings houses a permanent exhibition titled “The Birth of the Literature Base: A New Chapter of the Old Houses,” which details the site’s preservation, the ministry said. Another is dedicated to children and picture books, as well as creative aging programs, it said. One building, called the Muse Garden (繆思苑), would serve as the living and working quarters of the site’s writer-in-residence, with writer Yang Shuang-tzu (楊?子) to be the first to move in, it said. The Literature House (文學厝) is to display a special exhibition titled “The NMTL’s Archive Select Exhibition,” after which it would hold professional exchanges, it said. Two of the buildings would be used as additional spaces for exhibitions and activities, while the last houses dessert shop Matcha One, the ministry said. At the opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得) described the establishment of the space as an “important milestone,” and said he hoped that new works of literature would originate from it. The new space in Taipei builds on the Tainan museum’s outreach programs and is aimed at serving audiences in the northern part of the nation, NMTL director Su Shuo-bin (蘇碩斌) said. Su said that he looks forward to the new arts
LARGE UPGRADE: Premier Su Tseng-chang attended the ceremony for the mail processing center and training center, which would cost about NT$6.9 billion to build
Chunghwa Post yesterday held a groundbreaking ceremony for a mail processing center and postal training center at its Postal Logistics Park in Taoyuan’s Gueishan District (龜山). Construction of the two buildings would cost about NT$6.9 billion (US$242.16 million) and is scheduled to be completed by June 2024, the postal company said, adding that both buildings are expected to begin operating in 2025. The mail processing center would handle mail and packages previously handled by the Taipei and Taoyuan mail processing centers, including all international post, as well as mail and packages from Taipei, New Taipei City, Keelung and Taoyuan, and Hsinchu, Yilan and Hualien counties, the firm said. Mail and packages from the seven cities and counties account for about 70 percent of all domestic post handled by the company, it added. The postal training center would be equipped with training facilities and house a smart monitoring center to ensure that the park is managed efficiently. About 7,900m2 of the building would be leased to logistics companies, e-commerce operators or start-ups so that they can have bases of operation in the park, the company said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at the ceremony that the postal company’s functions have evolved over the years. The postal service’s couriers used to deliver everything from love letters and military draft certificates to report cards for civil service exams, but now the company functions more as a logistics firm, he said. Although airlines have reduced passenger flights, they have reported record cargo transport, Su said, adding that the postal company should quickly identify trends in the market and plan ahead. Su said that the number of parking spaces in near the two buildings would not be enough to meet future demand, given that the company has a reputation for offering a reliable service, dominates the market and
The High Administrative Court’s Kaohsiung branch on Thursday dismissed an appeal by a local company over a NT$300,000 fine issued by the Kaohsiung Labor Affairs Bureau for contraventions of the Employment Service Act (就業服務法). A biotech company in the city’s Gangshan District (岡山) in April last year hired a woman surnamed Lu (廬) for a clerical position. However, when Lu reported for the job on May 2, she was dismissed and given a day’s wages after she informed the company’s owner, surnamed Lin (林), that she was to be married at the end of the month. Lin said that Lu was entitled to days off for her marriage, maternity leave and parental leave, but when she took the time off, he would have to bring in another person to fill the job. Lu, dissatisfied with being dismissed for not telling the company about her impending marriage, as it would affect company operations, lodged a complaint with the bureau. During court hearings, the company said that it had created the position because of “urgent business needs,” and that on her first day of work, Lu had contradicted her own statement that she was married when she was interviewed. The company said that as Lu would be handling the company’s finances, they could not employ someone who was lacking integrity. However, upon review of Lu’s job description, the court said that the job had nothing to do with the company’s finances, and citing marriage as the reason for her dismissal, which had no relation to how she would perform, was unfair to Lu. The court’s decision can still be appealed.
‘ROTTEN’ SYSTEM: Judicial reform organizations said that the scandal involving more than 200 officials had severely eroded the public’s faith and trust in the judicial system
Twenty Supreme Court and High Court judges and senior officials, along with 20 prosecutors and judicial investigators, were found to have engaged in illegal activities such as bribe-taking, abuse of authority and conflict of interest, according to a Judicial Yuan report released yesterday. The report confirmed earlier Control Yuan’s findings that embroiled more than 200 judicial personnel in a corruption scandal involving former Supreme Court judge Shih Mu-chin (石木欽) and Chia Her Industrial Co president Weng Mao-chung (翁茂鍾). The report recommended disciplinary measures and punishment against the 40 officials, including for judges presiding over nine cases involving Weng starting in the late 1990s, for which he received favorable rulings. According to the report, Shih, who was president of the High Court, became a close friend of Weng when litigation involving him began in 1997. Through Shih, Weng was introduced to more than 200 judges, prosecutors and police officials through banquets and personal visits, the report said. The officials were alleged to have received bribes and lavish gifts, including company stock, in exchange for using their influence to aid Weng. The Control Yuan in August last year began impeachment proceedings against Shih over alleged contraventions of the Judges Act (法官法) and suspicion of failing to avoid conflicts of interest. In presenting the findings at a news conference in Taipei, Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lin Hui-huang (林輝煌) said that the 20 judges involved had committed serious misconduct, and would face punishment to be determined by its disciplinary committee. Seven of the judges found to have been most involved in abusing their authority face further investigation from the Control Yuan for possible impeachment, he said. These include former Supreme Court judge Yen Nan-chuan (顏南全), former Supreme Administrative Court president Lin Chi-fu (林奇福), former Supreme Court chief judge Wu Hsiung-ming (吳雄銘), and former Tainan District Court judge Su Yi-chou (蘇義洲). Some officials would be dismissed
STATE OF CONFUSION: With officials giving conflicting statements, the groups demanded that the government only issue policy statements through official channels
A number of groups yesterday questioned whether the government had postponed the rollout of new electronic identification cards (eID) as it said it had, after Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) said that preparations were ongoing. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Monday last week reportedly told Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers at a luncheon that the government had agreed to postpone the rollout of the cards and tasked Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) with instructing Cabinet agencies to hold off until security, legal and other issues are resolved. However, Tang on Friday said in an interview that with the increased use of the National Health Insurance app and My Health Bank service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had begun legal, security and user experience preparations for the eID system. The Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Judicial Reform Foundation, Open Culture Foundation and other groups yesterday asked whether officials’ statements to media constituted a formal decision, or were merely reflecting a “rolling review” as the government revises its policy. In light of the confusion, the groups issued several demands. First, official government policy should not be announced through unofficial channels such as luncheons or interviews, they said. If the government had decided to postpone the eID rollout, it should have held a formal meeting and news conference to fully explain its reasoning, the groups said. Furthermore, the government should provide a timeline to explain what it plans to accomplish during the delay, they said. The scope and specifics of legal considerations should be detailed, as well as the meaning of “security and user experience preparations,” they added. Saying that the Executive Yuan should “start over,” the groups called for the rollout plan and new regulations on personal data to be thrown out. New eID policy should from the outset ensure privacy and data autonomy, they said. The policy involves a wide array