Tsai seeks to ramp up defence budget
TAIPEI • Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that she is seeking to ramp up spending on the armed forces, as relations with China deteriorate. Her proposal to increase next year's defence budget by 5.6 per cent to NT$346 billion (S$15.5 billion) will go before Parliament following the summer recess.
Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be brought back into its fold, by force if necessary.
China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Ms Tsai came to power two years ago, as her government refuses to acknowledge that the island is part of "one China".
Vietnam jails ex-bankers over graft
HANOI • A court in Vietnam handed down lengthy prison terms yesterday to several former bankers accused of mismanagement, amid a crackdown on corruption in the communist-ruled country.
In the early 2010s, Vietnam's banking system was rocked by a string of mismanagement scandals and under-regulated lending, and it is still reeling from non-performing loans.
Pham Cong Danh, former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank - which was privately owned until a central bank takeover - received a 20-year prison sentence, while former chief executive Phan Thanh Mai got 10 years, said the Ministry of Public Security. The court also sentenced Tram Be, former deputy chairman of Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, to four years in prison on the same charges.
Drugs stolen from Malaysian Customs
KUALA LUMPUR • Police in Malaysia have arrested two Customs officers and three other suspects after a gang of thieves stole about 50kg of narcotics, ketamine and heroin from a Customs storage facility in a heist on Sunday.
The thieves targeted a container that had been recently impounded and stored in the Customs department's anti-narcotics unit's facility in Negeri Sembilan state, about an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Armed Customs officers were deployed at the facility following the break-in, and security has been stepped up at Customs storage facilities nationwide, a Customs official said. No estimate was given for the value of the stolen drugs, but media reports said the haul was worth around RM30 million (S$10 million).