Trending in Taiwan Today

Trending in Taiwan Today
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The biggest stories from around Taiwan today.

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Identity of undefeatable Go player revealed
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Photo Credit: AP / 達志影像

The artificial intelligence (AI) “Master” who defeated the world's top Go players and won 60 consecutive matches online over the last few days identified itself on Jan. 4 as Taiwanese AlphaGo developer Aja Huang (黃士傑), CNA reports. AlphaGo is an AI system designed by Google’s DeepMind team, which came to fame after beating world’s second best Go professional Korean Lee Se-dol in March, 2016. Huang then registered AlphaGo under the names Master(P) and Magister(P) on online Go servers and has defeated a long list of top Go players including China’s Ke Jie (柯潔), the world’s top-ranked Go player, in online matches. DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis, from the U.K., later confirmed on Twitter that Master is the new version of AlphaGo under “unofficial testing.” Aja Huang has also confirmed the revelation on Facebook, saying that the team is “looking forward to playing official, full-length games later this year in collaboration with Go organizations and experts.” AlphaGo current ranks second in the international Go ratings.

Read more: The Taiwan Brain Behind AlphaGo: Aja Huang

Chinese aircraft carrier may cruise past Taiwan during Tsai’s Central America visit
蔡英文 國防 軍事
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

A Ministry of National Defense (MND) official yesterday reportedly said on condition of anonymity that Chinese officials might send its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, to cruise the Taiwan Strait during President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nine-day visit to Central America, scheduled to begin on Saturday, Taipei Times reports.

The Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through waters east of Taiwan along with escorts late last month, following several training missions conducted by the Chinese military around Taiwanese airspace over the past few months, causing regional tensions to flare. Liaoning is currently conducting maritime exercises in the South China Sea, but it could engage in a show-of-force operation along the Taiwan Strait median line on its return voyage to China, the paper reports the MND official as saying. The official added that the military is closely monitoring the movement of the Chinese carrier group and if Liaoning approaches the Taiwan Strait, the armed forces will begin patrolling appropriate sea and air zones with maritime patrol aircraft, fighters and warships, and put ground-based missile batteries on alert.

Read more: PLA 2.0: China's Military Intelligence Plays Catch-Up
Read more: PLA 2.0: China's Military Intelligence Upgrade

Former President Ma to be charged in wiretapping case: report
Ma Ying-jeou 馬英九
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Prosecutors are to formally charge former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in a wiretapping case involving former prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) before the end of the month, according to a Chinese-language media, Taipei Times reports.

A report published this week by local Mirror Media magazine said that the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office is likely to indict Ma prior to or just after the Lunar New Year holidays, which begins on Jan. 27. Ma allegedly received leaked information from Huang regarding a then-ongoing investigation which included wiretaps into allegations that Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and then-legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) were improperly using their influence. Ker accused Ma of violating the Criminal Code, the Communication Security and Surveillance Act and the Personal Information Protection Act. After summoning Huang, former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), then-Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) and other witnesses last month for questioning the case, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has gathered enough evidence and is set to formally charge Ma, Mirror Media reports. Ma’s office yesterday declined to comment on the issue.

'Evil Landlady' charged for defrauding Malaysian tourists
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Photo Credit: AP / 達志影像

Chang Shu-ching (張淑晶), 48, dubbed the "evil landlady" by local media, is being investigated by prosecutors for attempting to defraud two Malaysian tourists who came to Taiwan for New Year’s Eve. Chang rented a room to the tourists for NT$4,837 (US$150) a night but told the pair the rooms were all full and told them to stay in a hostel in New Taipei City's Yonghe District instead. Taiwan News reports the hostel's manager, Chen Po-jen (陳柏仁), said the rooms only cost NT$1,200 per night and alleges that Chang kept the difference. Chang also allegedly came to the hostel to request a refund from Chen while the tourists were touring in the city, claiming that she had reserved the room but was canceling her stay. Chang has been charged with fraud, forgery, intimidation and other criminal acts. An estimated 66 people have fallen victim to her, United Daily News reports. The New Taipei City Prosecutor's Office has been investigating 44 charges against Chang since 2015.

Read more: On the Cards, Taiwan's Dating App Scam of Choice

Award-winning author admits faking personal history
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Academics and writers were shocked after award-winning author Chen Hsuan-ju (陳宣儒) admitted to falsifying her personal history throughout her career. Chen, also known as Mika Tanaka, won the Ministry of Culture’s Golden Tripod Award for her book “Wansei Back Home (灣生回家),” which in 2015 was made into a documentary of the same name and achieved commercial success. At that time, Chen claimed that her Japanese maternal grandmother was a “wansei,” a Japanese term used to describe the descendants of Japanese immigrants who came to Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era from 1895 to 1945.

Many critics and reports have questioned the integrity of her background. After initially denying the allegations, Chen on Sunday issued a statement on her publisher’s Facebook account, admitting to making up details of her past and assuming the identity of a “wansei,” among other fabrications. Many academics and writers have slammed Chen, Taipei Times reports. Chen’s publisher is considering removing her books from circulation.

Read more: The Untold Stories of Taiwan-born Japanese During WWII

Editor: Edward White