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Driftwood pickers charged of misappropriation

TAITUNG, Taiwan -- More than 10 people in the eastern county of Taitung have been charged of offenses of misappropriation from accidentally picking the driftwood of rare species. Nearly 100 people crowded into the office of Liu Chuan-hao, the DPP nominee for the Taitung magistrate election, to plead their case. A man, surnamed Tien, said that he had no idea how to differentiate the precious wood from normal wood and he would like to return the wood that were accidentally taken.

Tien picked three logs on Sept. 4 and was indicted the next day. He was investigated for more than 15 hours and was released on a NT$100,000 bail.

The county government should help the wood pickers identify the species instead of indicting the innocent people, Liu said.

Driftwood was declared open for collecting after the county government and the Forest District Office finished identifying and marking the rare species.

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