TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The builders of a Tainan apartment complex which collapsed during a 2016 earthquake, killing 115 people, were sentenced to pay NT$730 million (US$24.3 million) in compensation Thursday (Jan. 16).
Appeals against the Tainan District Court verdict were still possible.
A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Kaohsiung City’s Meinong District early in the morning of February 6, 2016, but it was in Tainan City’s Yongkang District that the 17-story Wei Guan Golden Dragon building collapsed.
Of the 117 deaths registered in the quake, 115 occurred in the apartment tower, with an investigation showing that the construction process had included the use of cooking-oil cans and polystyrene materials inside its walls and pillars, reports said.
The chairman of the developer, Lin Ming-hui (林明輝), its design manager, two architects and a construction technician were later found responsible for the disaster.
Survivors and relatives of the victims filed five different applications for compensation totaling NT$3.5 billion, and Thursday’s court ruling only dealt with one of those.
The discrepancy between the sums for compensation was the result of changes in relevant legislation which occurred after the Wei Guan Golden Dragon was built in 1990, the Liberty Times reported. The judge ruled that legislation from before amendments in 1999 should be used to de
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An Airbus A330 refueling plane from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) landed at Kaohsiung’s Xiaogang Airport Thursday (Jan. 16), according to the Liberty Times.
While Singapore and Taiwan do not maintain official diplomatic relations, the two frequently conduct military cooperation projects, including the training of officers from the Southeast Asian city state on the island.
A member of the public took a picture of the gray A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) on the tarmac with an ambulance parked in front, leading to speculation that a Singaporean officer training in Taiwan might have been injured in the kind of incident which happened before.
Last month, a 21-year-old soldier in Singapore’s Armed Forces was injured during parachute training and needed cervical spine injury at an unidentified hospital in Taiwan.
However, on Thursday’s occasion, the Ministry of National Defense in Taipei denied any new accident had occurred.
In addition, aircraft from the U.S. Air Force had been signaled off Taiwan’s southwest coast Thursday morning, giving rise to theories that they had been accompanying the Singaporean refueling plane on its journey to Kaohsiung, according to the report.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The first section of Taipei's much-anticipated new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Circular Line, or Yellow Line (code Y), is slated to open to the public on (Sunday) Jan. 19 with free rides.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) announced on Thursday (Jan. 16) that pending the formal approval of six final items that were designated for improvement by the Taipei and New Taipei City governments and a formal opening ceremony, free rides on the new line will commence on Sunday.
During this free trial phase, trains will initially run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with gaps of 8 minutes between trains. The ministry said that once the free test runs end, the trains will arrive at intervals of between four and seven minutes during peak rush hours, while they will run at five to 10-minute intervals during off-peak hours.
The electronic tickets for passengers taking the new line during the trial period will not be charged when entering and exiting its stations. However, those who transfer from and to other metro lines will be charged the regular amount, as there is no way to determine whether they only took the yellow line or not.
The first part of the line includes 14 stations and one depot between Dapinglin Station in the south and New Taipei Industrial Park Station in the west, with trains passing through the New Taipei City districts of Xindian, Zhonghe, Banqiao, and Xinzhuang. The new line will see interchanges with several other lines already completed, such as the Airport MRT Line, or still under construction.
The purpose of the Circular Line is to enable commuters traveling from one area of outer Taipei or New Taipei City to another to avoid having to first connect through downtown Taipei. This first section of the yellow line connects the Green, Orange, and Blue lines.
The first 15.4-kilometer segment of the line was originally due to be up and running in June of 2018, but the opening was later postponed until this month. The cost of the first stage was NT$69.97 billion (US$2.32 billion).
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Vietnamese migrant worker fatally stabbed two countrymen and injured one woman in a drunken rage on Wednesday night (Jan. 15).
At 10 p.m. on Wednesday night, a 35-year-old Vietnamese male, surnamed Phi (斐), fatally stabbed two fellow workers and injured one of their spouses during a heated argument after a night of drinking at a worker's dormitory in Tainan City's Madou Industrial Park. The assailant and the victims were all employees of the same company.
The victims were identified as a 31-year-old man surnamed Hoang (黃), Hoang's 28-year-old brother-in-law surnamed Vu (武). Vu's wife, who is Hoang's cousin and shares the same surname, was injured in the assault, reported Liberty Times.
Some employees allege that Phi went out for drinks at 9 p.m. When he returned, witnesses said he was in an intoxicated state and that he started a heated argument with Hoang.
Phi allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and threw it at Hoang, but missed. A number of workers then rushed forward to calm Phi down, and he headed back to his dorm room to rest.
However, Hoang was still enraged and called up Vu to go with him to Phi's dorm room. The three began to fight each other, but coworkers rushed in to break them up in an attempt to prevent the incident from escalating further.
When Hoang and Vu turned their backs and walked away, Phi grabbed a kitchen knife and chased after them.
Phi first allegedly stabbed Vu in the back in a hallway on the second floor of the dormitory, according to the report. Vu collapsed on the spot.
Meanwhile, Hoang fled to a female dormitory where his cousin lives. Suddenly, Phi kicked down the door of the room and slashed him on the right side of his neck, severing an artery and causing blood to spurt onto Phi's body.
Hoang's cousin then tried to come to his aid and suffered a laceration to her right hand. After attacked Hoang and his cousin, Phi leaped over a two-meter-high wall that was caped with concertina wire and fled the scene on foot.
After being alerted to the assault, Madou police arrived on the scene, collected the murder weapon, and rushed Vu and Hoang to the hospital. However, both men perished before they reached the hospital, and Hoang's cousin was treated for minor wounds, according to the report.
Phi returned to a grassy area outside the dormitory's wall at 11 p.m. as police sent 30 officers to search for him. At 12 p.m., police were able to chase Phi down, who collapsed from exhaustion and was sent to the Madou Sin-Lau Hospital for treatment.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Taiwanese man accused of having killed his Chinese wife in Thailand had been wanted for fraud on the island, reports said Wednesday (Jan. 15).
Lu, 38, reportedly killed his wife and put her body in a suitcase which he dropped into the sea. On Jan. 10, the suitcase was found on a beach in Bang Phra, a resort in Chonburi Province, southeast of Bangkok.
Last Sunday, police arrested Lu at a rented apartment and found evidence he had bought “duct tape, cords and large plastic bags from a hardware store” in the area, according to the Bangkok Post.
The couple reportedly arrived in Thailand last August, with the wife, Liew (劉) , 33, giving birth to a baby later in the year. The fatal argument reportedly involved whether or not the child should have Taiwanese citizenship.
An investigation by Taiwanese authorities found that Lu had been a fugitive for five years in connection with a fraud case. During his work in the travel sector, Lu had pocketed travel fees and used a credit card of his tour group for his own purposes, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said.
After eventually serving a sentence for the murder of his wife, Lu would face extradition to Taiwan to be tried for the fraud case.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Temperatures in Nantou County's Zhushan Township dropped to 10.9 degrees Celsius early Thursday morning (Jan. 16) under the influence of the radiant cooling phenomenon, but temperatures are forecast to bounce back to between 22 and 25 degrees around noon.
Low temperatures of 14 to 16 degrees were recorded in northern and central Taiwan on Thursday morning and plunged below 12 degrees in mountainous areas.
According to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), highs are expected to reach 22 to 25 degrees in northern, northeastern, and eastern Taiwan and 26 to 28 degrees in the central and southern parts of the country.
Another cold air mass is expected to arrive on Friday (Jan. 17) and is likely to strengthen over the weekend.
The moist air is expected to bring occasional rain across the northern and eastern parts of the island from Saturday evening (Jan. 18) through Sunday (Jan. 19). The weather bureau predicts temperatures could dip to as low as 11 degrees in central and northern Taiwan.
College entrance exams are slated for this weekend, and the CWB advises exam participants to take an umbrella and put on extra layers of clothes, as mornings and evenings will be cold. However, day and nighttime temperatures could vary by as much as 10 degrees across the country.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A factory in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City erupted in flames early Wednesday morning (Jan. 15), sending a massive plume into the air.
At 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the Kaohsiung City Fire Bureau received a report about a fire at a factory complex covering over a thousand ping (a ping equals 3.3 square meters) on Dongchang Street in Nanzi District. Since it was next to a residential building and 50 meters away from a gas station, firefighters moved quickly to contain the blaze.
As there was a large quantity of textile manufacturing materials in the factory, the fire had plenty of fuel to spread and intensify. Witnesses saw flames leaping from the building and heard a series of explosions.
Fortunately, there were no deaths or injuries reported from the blaze, reported SET News. However, the thick smoke led the Kaohsiung City Government Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) to dispatch inspectors to monitor the scene and issue an air quality deterioration notice.
Nearby residents noticed heavy smoke and a peculiar odor drifting in the air over the district. Due to weak wind speed today, conditions are less than optimal to disperse air pollutants churned out by the fire.
The Kaohsiung EPB said that because dispersal conditions will be poor through noon, residents are advised to avoid vigorous outdoor sports and to wear masks when venturing out. The bureau said that in the afternoon, sea winds should help blow away the pollutants to some extent.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is reportedly planning to donate 100,000 masks to Australia, which has been struck by massive bush fires due to protracted heat and drought.
MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a press briefing on Tuesday (Jan. 14) that Taiwanese authorities plan donate 100,000 medical masks to those affected by smoke and ashfall, reported the Liberty Times. Details of the donation are being discussed, added Ou.
The report said the first batch of donations would be 6,000 N95 masks.
Australia has been experiencing its worst ever bush-fire season, with dozens of people killed and thousands more evacuated from their homes. It is estimated the number of animals affected by the devastation could reach half a billion.
The Australian Office in Taipei had earlier expressed gratitude to regional partners, including Taiwan, for their support amid the crisis. It hs also provided links so the public can make donations in aid of fire relief efforts.
In addition to making donations to Australia, MOFA is also planning to donate 2,0200 tonnes of rice to Taiwan’s Caribbean ally Haiti upon the request of the Haitian government. The first batch will be delivered by ferry in February, said Liu Yu-chi (劉聿綺), a senior MOFA official responsible for Latin American affairs.
Hsinchu Zoo in northern Taiwan and Tobu Zoo in Japan's Saitama Prefecture established sisterhood relations Tuesday to build cooperation on the care and protection of animals.
At the signing ceremony in Hsinchu, the city's Deputy Mayor Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) said she hopes that through the agreement, Hsinchu Zoo will learn from the outstanding wildlife conservation efforts of its sister facility in Japan.
The two zoos will conduct regular exchanges on animal care and conservation, with the Hsinchu zoo taking the opportunity to increase its soft power and upgrade its animal breeding expertise, she said.
The sisterhood agreement was signed by Hsinchu Zoo Director Yang Chia-min (楊家民) and his Tobu counterpart Mitsuo Ban and witnessed by Shen.
Hsinchu Zoo, which had been under renovation for two years, reopened last month with a fresh purpose of serving as facility for life education and the protection of animals.
Tobu Zoo, meanwhile, which opened in 1981 as the 80th anniversary project of Tobu Railway, is a popular hybrid theme park, comprising a zoo, an amusement park and a swimming pool.
The zoo, one of the few places where the rare white tiger species can be seen, plans to set up an observatory area, modeled on Hsinchu Zoo's tropical rain forest gallery, to allow people to see the white tigers close up, Yang said as he introduced the Japanese zoo to local people.
Meanwhile, Ban said Tobu Zoo also has a Heartful Garden with 410 different kinds of plants that grow all year round and a Palette Garden in which there are flowers and fruit trees, including 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei Mass Transit (MRT) system is set to launch a new fare scheme in which frequent riders can receive a discount of up to 30 percent per month, beginning Feb. 1.
On Monday (Jan. 13), the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp. (TRTC), the company with runs the Taipei MRT, announced that it will discontinue its 20 percent discount program for passengers using electronic cards and move to a new intensity-based scheme. Under the new model, passengers receive increasingly higher levels of discounts depending on the frequency with which they use the system, with the maximum discount being 30 percent.
Passengers who take the MRT 51 times or more per month, will receive a 30 percent discount, while those who ride the trains between 41 and 50 times per month will be eligible for a 25 percent discount. Next on the tiered scale is a discount of 20 percent for 31 to 40 rides per month, 15 percent for 21 to 30 trips, and 10 percent for 11 to 20 journeys.
These discounts are applicable to four types of electronic cards, including EasyCard (悠遊卡), iPASS (一卡通), icash2.0 (愛金卡), and HappyCash (遠鑫有錢卡). TRTC deputy chairman Shen Chih-chang (沈志藏) said the new rewards system will begin tallying journeys for January, so frequent passengers should see their first bonus on Feb. 1, according to the report.
Starting in February, the new reward will be directly deposited into the smart card's electronic wallet and will be valid for six months. In addition, the one-month all-pass ticket NT$1,280, which provides unlimited rides on MRT trains, buses, and YouBikes in Taipei and New Taipei City, will continue to be available.