TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Newly elected New Power Party (NPP) legislator-at-large and mother of a murdered child, Claire Wang (王婉諭), on Monday (Jan. 13) appeared at a police station to file charges against two online supporters of Kaohsiung mayor and former KMT presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) for cyberbullying.
At a press conference in front of the Neihu Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department, Wang said that after her election victory became official on Saturday (Jan. 11), many friends sent screenshots of menacing messages that Han fans had posted on her Facebook page. She said the content contained many disturbing words, including threats of bodily harm.
Wang said she is suing two individuals: one, surnamed Wang (王) allegedly wrote, "[The election win] doesn't matter. he still has two more he can slash," reported Liberty Times. The other, surnamed Chen (陳), allegedly typed, "There are two more who can be slashed. Use [them] to make a lantern."
Chen then allegedly posted a photo of the body of Wang's daughter and wrote, "My anger is coming." Netizens were furious at the posts made by the two, and their Facebook pages have since been shut down.
Wang said that she noticed numerous likes below the posts and that she believed this could mean that they supported the statements. She said that she is planning on pressing charges against the pair for threatening and endangering public safety (恐嚇危害安全罪), reported CNA.
Wang said that since she has become a public figure, such abusive language has been nonstop. She said that if the public wants to critique her, they should focus on her performance in the Legislative Yuan.
She said that although she firmly believes in freedom of speech, such a privilege cannot be unlimited. Wang said she is filing suit to let netizens know that "They should be held responsible for their words and deeds,".
On March 28, 2016, Wang's 4-year-old daughter, nicknamed "Little Light Bulb" (小燈泡) was riding her bike just a few meters in front of her Wang on a Taipei street, when a man named Wang Ching-yu (王景玉), then 33, suddenly grabbed her behind and slashed her neck with a knife. Her mother tried to stop Wang, but he fended her off as he decapitated the little girl.
In May of 2017, judges at the Shilin District Court determined that Wang suffered from schizophrenia and that based on provisions of the United Nations he could not be sentenced to death. Dissatisfied with the court's decision, Wang and her husband Liu Ta-ching (劉大經) appealed the life sentence while seeking the death penalty, and the second trial is currently underway.
In 2019, Wang decided to run as a legislator on the platform of education reform and strengthening the death penalty. On Nov. 13, the NPP announced that she was on its list of 12 legislator-at-large candidates.
Under Taiwan's constitution, only legislator-at-large candidates from parties that exceed 5 percent of the party-list votes can be elected to Taiwan's legislature. Those at the top of the list have a higher chance of being selected by proportional representation.
According to NPP rules, legislator-at-large candidates are voted for online by party members, with those receiving a simple majority vote being officially approved. Wang placed third on the list, and as the NPP received 7.7 percent of the national party votes on Saturday, it was allowed to allocate three legislators-at-large in the Legislative Yuan and she was given a seat in the governing body.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area (參山國家風景區) has had 12 of its facilities and businesses certified as Muslim friendly venues, in a bid to woo travelers from the Islamic world.
The Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area covers mountainous tourist attractions in both northern and central Taiwan. These include those in Hsinchu County, Miaoli County, Taichung City, Changhua County, and Nantou County.
Management from the scenic area have been working with the International Muslim Tourism Industry Development Association (IMTIDA) to promote Muslim-friendly practices in Taiwan. Measures include the installation of prayer rooms and Muslim-friendly bathrooms at visitor information centers, as well as certification for tea products as recommended souvenirs, reported Liberty Times.
The campaign, launched last year, has seen 12 places accredited by IMTIDA, including eight businesses and four visitor centers. The certified restaurants and accommodation providers include: Xie Xin Café (歇心茶樓), Laoliao Hostel (南庄老寮背包空間), Manchen B&B (漫晨旅店), Hakkagoods (好客在一起), Yanzitao Pottery Coffee B&B (燕子陶咖啡民宿), Magical Mushrooms Tribe (魔菇部落), Grand View Hotel (員林麗禧酒店), and Chun Gu Farm (春谷農場).
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's two major air carriers, China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways (EVA) have canceled all flights from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) due to the eruption of a volcano.
On Sunday (Jan. 12), Taal Volcano in Batangas province 60 kilometers south of Manila spewed steam, ash, and pebbles up to nine miles into the sky, prompting Philippine authorities called for the "total evacuation" of over half a million people in the province. “We have asked people in high-risk areas, including the volcano island, to evacuate now ahead of a possible hazardous eruption," said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
As fallen ash had covered the runways at MNL on Sunday, all departing and arriving international and domestic flights were cancelled due to "volcanic ash in the vicinity of the airport," according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. On Monday (Jan. 13), CAL canceled the following flights CI701, CI702, CI703 and CI704, while EVA canceled flights BR271, BR262 and BR272.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News ) — The suspect behind the grisly murder and dismemberment of a Chinese Malaysian woman was found dead inside an apartment in Keelung on Sunday evening (Jan. 12).
After police started a manhunt for a 45-year-old man surnamed Lin (林) wanted for allegedly murdering a 26-year-old woman surnamed Teng (鄧) earlier that day, the Keelung Fire Department received a report that the body of a man matching his description had been found in an apartment on Baisan Street in Keelung's Qidu District at 5:51 p.m. Sunday evening. Firefighters confirmed that the man was dead and immediately informed the police.
Chen Wei-jen (陳偉仁), the chief investigator of the Wanhua Precinct of the Taipei City Police Department, told reporters at a press conference that the fingerprints of the deceased matched those of Lin. Chen said that Lin had apparently broken into an apartment where he had previously lived, set charcoal alight, and apparently asphyxiated from the fumes.
Chen said that the owner of the apartment had been away for two days and that when he returned home, he stumbled on Lin's corpse. The apartment's owner said that he did not know Lin and was not sure how he had broken in, as the windows and door were all tightly sealed without any signs of damage.
A neighbor surnamed Wang (王), who lives on nearby Fuyi Street, said that he had passed a man wearing a black down coat at about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday as he was walking downstairs to go out, according the report. He said he had thought it odd because Lin was not a known resident of the building.
Wang said that neighbors started to notice that the hot water had stopped running when they tried to bathe. When they went to the top floor to check the gas tank, they found that the gas pipeline had been ripped off.
The residents then found a coat and mobile phone nearby on the ground. When they checked the phone, they found a suicide note that read, "I'm sorry, by the time you see this message I will have already died,".
When Wang returned home on Sunday, his neighbors told him of the strange scene on the top floor and reports of a manhunt for a murder suspect. He then notified police and confirmed that the man in the black coat seen in police surveillance footage was the same individual he had seen walking down the stairs.
On Jan. 6, the Taipei Police Department's Wanhua Precinct received a report that Teng, who was working in catering in Taiwan, had gone missing. After officers found her room to be empty, officers questioned her four neighbors, who each lived in a small suite separated by a partition.
Police said that when they questioned Lin, he had a calm demeanor and there was no sign of Teng. However, they noticed the strong smell of disinfectant emanating from his bathroom.
Police confirmed that Lin had a prior criminal record, including armed robbery with a knife in 2005. Police found that Lin had received NT$10,000 from Teng's bank account after the crime, causing them to become highly suspicious.
At a press conference on Sunday, Wanhua Precinct police said that Lin is the prime suspect in the homicide case because after being questioned, he had abandoned his belongings and apparently gone into hiding. Surveillance footage showed Lin carry two cardboard boxes out of his room and place them in a rental car, which he drove to a mountainous area of Keelung.
After police tracked the suspect's movements, they found Teng's remains in a wooded area of the mountains of Keelung on Saturday. To their horror, they discovered that her body had been dismembered, wrapped in cotton quilts, and placed in two cardboard boxes.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) has issued a cold surge advisory for parts of northern Taiwan, as the mercury could dip to as low as 10 degrees Celsius, and snow has begun falling in Taiwan's mountains.
Due to the effects of a continental air mass, the CWB predicts that temperatures will be at their coldest on Monday and Tuesday morning (Jan. 13 and 14), with lows dropping to between 11 and 13 degrees in northern and central Taiwan and possibly as low as 10 degrees in mountainous areas of Hsinchu and Miaoli. The CWB has issued a cold surge advisory for Miaoli and Hsinchu Counties.
According to the CWB, the current wave of cold air affecting Taiwan has been upgraded to the level of a continental cold air mass. Temperatures are expected to be at their coldest this week on Monday morning and Tuesday morning. Low temperatures in northern and northeastern Taiwan are expected to dip down to between 11 and 13 degrees.
Highs are expected to reach 17 to 18 degrees in northern Taiwan and Yilan, 23 to 24 degrees in southern and central Taiwan, and 22 to 24 degrees in eastern Taiwan. The CWB's cold surge advisory for Miaoli County and Hsinchu County predicts that lows could drop to 10 degrees on Monday and Tuesday.
The combination of the cold air mass and the eastern movement of a cloud system from southern China will likely bring rain to northern and eastern Taiwan, while southern Taiwan will see cloudy skies. Given the combination of moisture and cold temperatures, the CWB predicts that snowfall is possible on mountains with an elevation of over 3,000 meters, such as Yushan and Hehuanshan.
In fact, snow has already been reported at Xueshan's Sanliujiu Lodge and on Hehuanshan, the first snows seen on Taiwanese mountains in 2020. Ice has also formed on sections of road above Xueshan, and officials have warned motorists to exercise caution when driving in the area.
Starting on Wednesday (Jan. 15), conditions in Taiwan should be drier but still cool. The difference in day and nighttime temperatures in central and southern Taiwan is expected to increase over the course of the week.
From Wednesday to Thursday, the cold air mass will begin to weaken, and daytime temperatures will start to rise. However, due to radiative cooling, the lows in northern and central Taiwan may drop down to between 12 and 13 degrees.
By Friday, a northeast monsoon will approach that could be close in strength to the continental cold air mass. The system could bring more cold temperatures to northern Taiwan before weakening on Sunday (Jan. 19).
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Ministry of Justice (MOJ) official on Thursday (Jan. 9) confirmed that Australian police had sought to verify the identity of a Kuomintang (KMT) official for his alleged role in a efforts to bribe and threaten a Chinese spy into recanting his story and implicate the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
On Wednesday (Jan. 8), The Age reported that KMT party deputy secretary general Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and a Chinese businessman identified as Sun Tianqun (孫天群) allegedly tried to bribe and intimidate self-proclaimed Chinese spy Wang "William" Liqiang (王立強) into making a false confession implicating the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in an attempt to sway the election that is set to take place on Saturday (Jan. 11).
During a press conference at noon on Thursday, Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) confirmed Australian police had sought to verify Tsai's identity by contacting the judicial unit through relevant cooperative channels in early January, and that relevant information and assistance had been provided, reported Up Media. Cheng made it clear that because Wang had reported to Australian police that he had been "threatened" and because he identified Tsai and Sun as issuing the threats, Australian authorities asked Taiwan's MOJ to confirm Tsai's identity through relevant cooperation channels.
Cheng said that at present, the Australian police have only made an inquiry about Tsai's identity information to the judicial unit through the channel, but have not yet made any other requests. Cheng added that the MOJ will provide further assistance if needed, as Australian authorities continue the investigation.
According to The Age report, Australian security agencies determined that Wang received the first of a series of attempted bribes and threats from Tsai and Sun on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). Through a combination of inducements and threats, Wang was told to tape a false video confession in which he would retract his story and claim the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had offered him "a large sum of money."
However, at a press conference held by the KMT's Central Standing Committee on Thursday, Tsai refuted the allegations. Tsai denied threatening Wang and said that he "spoke to Wang like a big brother, in a very friendly way. I told him that because he made a mistake he should mend it," according to the report.
With less than 36 hours left before the polls open, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday night called on her supporters not to doubt choosing the path of reform or to underestimate her rivals.
Tsai of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is running for a second term against Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong (宋楚瑜) of the People First Party.
Addressing a DPP rally for Tsai and legislative candidate Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) in Yilan County, Tsai noted that Han's camp recently bought a series of TV commercials and made numerous phone calls to push for votes, which she said demonstrates the KMT has huge resources and betrays Han's self-styled image as an "average Joe."
She urged her supporters to continue to believe in their own choice at a time when the KMT is trying to drown out the voice of reform.
"We are adhering to the right path. The louder our rivals, the more we must bravely believe in the path of democracy, freedom and reform," Tsai said.
Voters should not divide their strength but should stand united in support of her in order to prevent the KMT from returning to power, she added.
Meanwhile, Tsai also appealed to people to cast their votes for the DPP in the legislative election being held alongside the presidential election on Saturday, so as to allow the DPP to block "authoritarian and conservative" forces in the Legislature.
Later at a rally held by independent legislative candidate Freddy Lim (林昶佐) in Taipei, Tsai said people must use their vote to tell the world that they do not accept the "one country, two systems" formula proposed by Beijing for unification with Taiwan.
She pointed out that Hong Kong has proven the formula to be a failure and that "democracy and authoritarianism cannot coexist."
Also on Thursday night, Han held a huge rally in Taipei which the KMT claimed was attended by 1 million people.
Han called Tsai's administration "corrupt" and criticized it for hampering the country's development, both economically and in relations with China, and urged voters to "turn Taiwan around."
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As China's economy declines due to the China-U.S. trade war, many Taiwanese working in China long to return home.
A Taiwanese internet user, who is employed by a Chinese enterprise, shared his overseas working experiences on the online forum "Mobile01" late last year. He said his nostalgia for Taiwan is becoming stronger all the time and he feels left out in the company's social circles, despite sharing the same language as his Chinese co-workers.
The Taiwanese worker added that although companies in China provide higher salaries, working at home will allow him to live closer to his family and friends. Upon being published, the post accumulated hundred of comments from Taiwanese workers who share similar feelings.
Some pointed out the cost of living in China has risen. Others said Taiwanese workers are often dismissed from companies before their Chinese counterparts — solely because they are Taiwanese.
According to government statistics from the Directorate General of Budget of the Executive Yuan, the number of Taiwanese who choose to work in China has hit a historical low. There has been a gradual decline since 2009, especially among the 30-49 age group.
In contrast, the number of Taiwanese workers who seek employment opportunities in the U.S. has reached a historical high. The government statistics suggest there are currently 405,000 Taiwanese working in China, and 101,000 in the U.S.
Besides cultural differences and the high cost of living, Taiwanese are also concerned about their freedom and safety in China due to cross-strait tensions. As the advantages of Chinese employment become less obvious, more Taiwan citizens are expected to return home.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A magnitude 4.4 earthquake shook eastern Taiwan's Hualien County at 3:06 a.m. this morning (Jan. 9), according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
The epicenter of the temblor was located 9.5 kilometers southeast of Hualien County Hall at a depth of 41.1 kilometers, based on CWB data. Taiwan uses an intensity scale of 1 to 7, which gauges the degree to which a quake is felt at a specific location.
The quake’s intensity registered as a 3 in Hualien County, a 2 in Yilan County and Changhua County, and a 1 in Nantou Couty, Taichung City, Taitung County, Hsinchu County, Yunlin County, and Chiayi County. No injuries resulting from the quake have been reported at the time of publication.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Enoch Wu (吳怡農) said that Taiwanese oppose the "one country, two systems" framework and that the country can develop successfully without Communist China, at a press conference on Tuesday (Jan. 7).
Wu, 39, who is a candidate for Taipei City's No. 3 constituency (Zhongshan District and North Songshan District) held an international press conference, in English, on Tuesday. During the interview, Wu said the consensus of Taiwanese is to oppose the "one country, two systems" framework, and he called on the public to make the right choice and help uphold the vision of a safe home.
Wu, who graduated from Yale University and previously worked for Goldman Sachs, set aside an hour to field questions from reporters from a number of international media outlets, including ZDF, The Daily Telegraph, dpa, and Korea Daily News. During the press conference, Wu took questions on subjects such as the situation in Hong Kong, future trends in Taiwan, and his next event.
When asked about the situation on the ground in Taiwan, Wu said the consensus among Taiwanese is that "we don't want one country, two systems." He added that most Taiwanese are concerned about the economy and worry they will have no choice but to rely on China.
However, Wu said that he believes Taiwan will have many opportunities and a different future. He said that Taiwan is highly competitive and will have many opportunities in the global supply chain.
Wu, who is challenging Wayne Chiang (蔣萬安) of the KMT, said there are many funds willing to invest in Taiwan. He asserted that even without Chinese assistance and being "on China's good side," Taiwan can still enjoy strong economic development.
Wu pointed out that at this critical time, "a huge amount of capital" is flowing back into Taiwan and being invested in local industries for the first time in 30 years. He said that if Taiwan can seize the opportunity to restructure the industrial structure and layout, it will be possible to increase employment opportunities and substantially improve people's wages.
When asked for his views on Taiwan's regional and international strategy, Wu said that Taiwan has for decades been on the front line against Chinese aggression, influence, and infiltration. He said this is something that other countries and regional allies are seeing now, adding that China maintains its influence through intelligence and military operations.
He said that Taiwan is, in contrast, "an available and clean security partner for the rest of the world." He said even more importantly, "Taiwan's successful democracy shows that democracy can not only work in a Chinese-speaking country, but it can thrive in a Chinese-speaking country."
Wu said Taiwan's successful democracy is "very important for 1.4 billion folks on the other side of the strait." He added, "This part of the world could look very different for a lot of folks, not to mention our friends in Hong Kong."