TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A video submitted to a dashcam sharing platform showing a man mimicking the “spider walk” from the American horror film “The Exorcist” has generated online discussion and triggered a police investigation.
The video was submitted anonymously and uploaded to WoWtchout’s YouTube channel on Nov. 15. The 15-second video shows a scooter rider traveling along Taipei’s Civic Boulevard near Taipei Main Station in the evening. Vehicles in front of the rider suddenly brake, swerve, and honk at something in the middle of the road — which headlights reveal as a shirtless man on all fours with his belly up.
According to a police report posted by Wowtchout under the video, the Zhongxiao West Road Police Station received a report of “someone standing in the middle of the road” on the evening of Nov. 16. When the police arrived, there was no sign of the person.
The police checked surveillance footage at the intersection to find the shirtless man dancing on the road and have identified a specific person as the dancing man. Once the police confirm the man’s identity, he will be subject to a NT$300 (US$11) fine.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of 86 route marks, with one every 100 meters, have been erected along the Mt. Baigu trail in central Taiwan to help prevent hikers from going missing after five such accidents happened on the route since 2019, two of which resulted in deaths.
Studies have found that going astray and falling off cliffs account for the most mountaineering accidents, the Tungshih Forest District Office said in a press release on Tuesday (Nov. 23).
Noting that the trail was built by entities other than itself, the forest office said it worked with a non-governmental organization, the Chinese Taipei Alpine Association, to complete the installation of the route marks from Nov. 19-22.
An introduction to the trail and guidance for how to safely climb the mountain is provided at the trailhead, the office said. It added that the route marks are made of retro-reflective materials to increase their visibility at night and in foggy conditions.
During emergencies, the route marks can help hikers locate where they are and report their locations to the authorities, the office said. For example, 45/86 means it is located 4.5 kilometers from the trailhead, it added.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A bomb disposal team from the Army on Friday (Nov. 26) will detonate an unexploded naval mine recently found washed up on the shore of Penghu’s Huxi Township.
The Penghu Defense Command said on Thursday that the Coast Guard recently found the mine on a beach. A bomb disposal team from the command has cordoned off the area surrounding the bomb, and the team will detonate it between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Friday, the command added.
According to the command, the mine, which has a diameter of 70 centimeters, has been seriously rusted, and the batch and part numbers are unrecognizable. The mine is similar to one found on an island in Penghu's Wang'an Township last Septmber.
It is not a standard combat weapon of the armed forces and is presumed to be of an earlier era.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese man sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to complete his alternative military service in Palau was refused transit in Guam because he had received Medigen COVID-19 shots, reports said Wednesday (Nov. 24).
While Palau allowed visitors to enter if they had been inoculated with the Taiwan-made vaccine, United Airlines reportedly did not allow the Taiwanese national to transit in Guam, CNA reported. Officials said that according to the United States territory’s regulations, if a traveler had tested negative for COVID within three days before his trip, and if his time in Guam did not exceed 13 hours, he was allowed to transit.
Yet, the U.S. and Guam did not accept Medigen vaccinations, and airlines maintained their own sets of rules regarding passengers. Lawmakers criticized MOFA Wednesday for its lack of foresight and wondered why it was still necessary to send people overseas for their alternative military service during the pandemic.
Due to the lack of frequent air connections to Palau, MOFA said it had sent a group of four by EVA Air to Tokyo, where they were to board a United Airlines flight to Guam on Nov. 21. The three other members of the group arrived for work in Palau on Nov. 22, according to officials.
MOFA said Wednesday that once the man’s 14-day stay at a quarantine hotel was over, it would try and send him to Palau again but via another route.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A magnitude 5.2 earthquake rattled eastern Taiwan at 5:55 p.m. this evening (Nov. 24), according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
The epicenter of the temblor was 80.6 kilometers east of Hualien County Hall, with a focal depth of 25.5 km. Taiwan uses an intensity scale of one to seven, which gauges the degree to which a quake is felt at a specific location.
The earthquake’s intensity registered as a 3 in Yilan County and a 2 in Hualien County, Nantou County, New Taipei City, and Taipei City. A lesser intensity of 1 was recorded in Taichung City, Taitung County, Taoyuan City, Keelung City, Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, Yunlin County, Changhua County, Chiayi County, and Miaoli County.
No injuries or damage from the quake had been reported at the time of publication.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Grandesports Championship is set to take place on Sunday (Nov. 28), with esports players averaging 65 years of age competing in the game League of Legends.
Nearly a decade ago, the documentary “Go Grandriders,” created with help from the Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation, impressed Taiwan with its story of senior citizens riding scooters on an 1,178-kilometer journey.
This year, the foundation is promoting the Grandesports Championship to increase positive perceptions of older adults and showcase their courage and perseverance.
The three esports teams were established separately in the northern, southern, and central regions of Taiwan. A total of 28 grandparents were recruited and given 10 esports lessons from August to November.
Although inexperienced with video games, these seniors were not above learning tactics from their coaches and grandchildren and spending an immense amount of time practicing skills. Some even traveled hours each week for the classes.
The passion and ambition of the grandparents infected their families. Some of their grandkids even made marks on their keyboard to help them remember how to play.
After two months, they are ready for their big moment. The championship will be streamed by the Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation on Facebook and broadcast on Yahoo TV.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Tuesday (Nov. 23) announced that it will begin trial operations for the "One ID" facial recognition system next month.
Taoyuan International Airport Corp. (TIAC) said that in order to speed up customs clearance and the boarding process while limiting exposure to potentially infected passengers, the airport will trial the "One ID" facial recognition system from Dec. 1 to the end of August. It conducted a stress test on nearly 100 passengers Tuesday, with participants reporting satisfactory results.
During a press conference, TIAC President Jerry Dan (但昭璧) said that after six months of preparation, the system has officially gone online. He said that it combines biometrics with boarding cards and exit permits to simplify departure procedures for participating passengers.
With the exception of passport checks at the National Immigration Agency's inspection counter, passengers will not need to show their passports to personnel, from the time they receive their boarding pass to the moment they board the plane.
Dan pointed out that the trial for the "One ID" system will be set up in Terminal 2. From Dec. 1-14, China Airlines and EVA Air will each activate the system for one flight per day.
The company hopes that through field-testing and verification, the airport can reduce the risk of COVID transmission while entering a new era of comprehensive, smart services.
Dan said that passengers 20 and over can first scan their boarding pass and passport at the No. 9 and No. 18 check-in counters, self-service check-in kiosks, or airport security gate. Next, their facial features will be scanned and added to the database.
Then, when they reach boarding gates C6 and D5, machines will scan their faces to confirm their identities based on the database. From Dec. 15 to the end of August, the trial will be expanded to encompass more flights and boarding gates in Terminal 2.
Dan explained that currently, passenger identification at security checkpoints and boarding gates requires manual inspection of passports and boarding passes. With the facial recognition system, these processes can be expedited and reduce manpower.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Cabinet is spearheading an effort to beef up security at convenience chains following a string of assaults over COVID-19 prevention measures.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Tuesday (Nov. 23) instructed relevant ministries to oversee the installation of an emergency reporting mechanism at stores for a faster police response. Equipping staffers with self-defense gear was also strongly urged in the Cabinet meeting.
Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) suggested convenience store workers use pepper spray since other self-defense products require more discussions and need to clear legal obstacles.
Su also made a case for staffers making the most of the "video report" system (110視訊報案), an application developed by the National Police Agency that allows for rapid police intervention. The nation's 24/7 convenience stores are supposed to be safe spaces for society, he said.
The move comes on the heels of a series of attacks on convenience store clerks who asked customers to follow anti-COVID rules. One shop employee in Taoyuan was stabbed to death after a dispute about mask-wearing, while another was assaulted in Taipei over real-name registration.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Yet another unruly customer on Tuesday (Nov. 23) assaulted a convenience store employee over epidemic prevention regulations.
At 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a 69-year-old man surnamed Kao (高) ran into a 7-Eleven in Taipei's Beitou District after a night of heavy drinking. When a clerk, surnamed Huang (黃), tried to persuade Kao to record his visit with the real-name registration system, he refused and began to curse at Huang.
At one point Kao bitterly shouted, "It's because of people like you that a store assistant was hacked to death." Kao was referring to an incident on Sunday (Nov. 21) in which a man allegedly stabbed a store clerk to death in Taoyuan after the clerk asked him to wear a mask.
A clerk surnamed Lin (林) tried to come to Huang's aid, only for Kao to target him and push Lin into the checkout counter with his abdomen. Kao then feigned injury and laid on his back on the floor.
Kao initially refused to stand back up before eventually getting back on his feet and threatening the clerks again. A female employee finally called the police.
At around noon that day, after the alcohol in Kao's system had dissipated, police questioned him and transferred him to the prosecutor's office to be investigated for obstruction of personal freedom (妨害自由) and assault (傷害罪).
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following a series of violent incidents in Taiwan involving baseball bats, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said police will register anyone with a bat found in their car in the future.
During his speech at the “Synchronized National Anti-Gang Program” press conference on Monday (Nov. 22), Hsu vowed to uproot and snuff out organized crime. He mentioned recent “baseball bat team” incidents in Taichung, New Taipei, and Yunlin that disrupted social order over very small disputes.
Authorities have found that many bat-wielding miscreants are linked to scam or gambling rings. While some culprits involved did not have a gang affiliation on file, police will focus on combating these people’s tendencies to be violent and group up, Hsu was cited as saying.
Therefore, the police will start registering anyone found to be carrying a bat in their car during an inspection. The government will focus on any violence involving bats, especially life-threatening cases.
The brutal beating of a student who scraped a Maserati on Nov. 7 drew a public outcry and attracted national attention to the many violent incidents involving baseball bats. On Sunday (Nov. 21), the fatal stabbing of a convenience store clerk shocked the country once again, calling attention to safety issues in the country, which various government departments have responded to with increased security and monitoring measures.
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