Wu Shih-tsai found guilty
The Taiwan High Court found Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材), one of two key suspects in the Papua New Guinea diplomatic fraud scandal, guilty yesterday of falsifying bank statements and lying to the police about being threatened by a gunman. Wu and Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖), the other main suspect, were commissioned in August 2006 to act as intermediaries in efforts to forge diplomatic ties with Papua New Guinea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to wire US$29.8 million to a bank account in Singapore that the two men had opened. The funds were to be transferred to the Papua New Guinea government once a diplomatic communique was signed. After efforts to forge ties collapsed in December 2006, the ministry asked for the money back but Chin allegedly refused to return the funds. Wu faces 28 months behind bars on forgery and defamation charges. Chin remains a fugitive.
SIP reshuffle imminent
The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Panel (SIP) is facing a possible reshuffle, with spokesperson Chen Yun-nan (陳雲南) and a few others facing replacement after completing two-year terms. Officials have confirmed that prosecutors Shen Ming-lun (沈明倫), Chu Chao-liang (朱朝亮) and Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠) would be replaced in about two weeks. On Feb. 11 the Control Yuan asked the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office to remove Chu and Wu from all cases involving former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of having violated the Prosecutors Code (檢察官守則) by having “private contact with Chen during the process of the investigation.” Chen Yun-nan said yesterday that he was willing to leave: “I have not performed well in this position and should let someone else take over … I have completed my two years in office.” Speculation is rife that Eric Chen (陳瑞仁), the prosecutor who indicted former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), will return to the SIP in the reshuffle. He did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday.
IOC veteran laid to rest
Henry Hsu (徐亨), a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who passed away last month aged 98, was laid to rest yesterday at a service attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄), Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), IOC member Wu Ching-kuo (吳經國), Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) and 1968 Olympic bronze medalist Chi Cheng (紀政). Hsu’s coffin was draped with the national flag, the flag of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the IOC flag. Hsu was an IOC member from 1970 to 1988.
NCC asked to delay Web site
Lawmakers on the Transportation Committee asked the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday to postpone the launch of a Web site that would allow the public to check cellphone base station locations. KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said people would feel uncomfortable if they saw a base station near their house, regardless of the lack of evidence that the electromagnetic waves emitted by the stations are harmful. KMT Legislator Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said that even though the NCC removes 100 licensed base stations a year, he still gets protests from the public about the stations. Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) asked Chunghwa Telecom to end long-distance domestic fees because it was now cheaper to call China than some cities in Taiwan.
GREATER NUMBER: The sorties might have been a response to the US and the EU expressing concern on Friday over China’s ‘provocations’ in the Taiwan Strait Twenty-five Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships were detected around Taiwan from 6am Saturday to 6am yesterday, including eight airplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and another two that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft that entered Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ were a Y-8 anti-submarine plane and a BZK-005 uncrewed aerial vehicle, the Ministry of National Defense said. The aircraft that flew across the median line include two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, four J-16 multipurpose fighters and two J-10 jets, the ministry’s official Web site showed. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her