Film director Doze Niu gets suspended prison sentence

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Kaohsiung District Court on Friday sentenced movie director Doze Niu to a five-month prison sentence or a fine of NT$150,000 (US$4,900), both suspended for two years, as a punishment for taking a Chinese national into a naval base.
Appeals were still possible against the sentence, but in effect, Niu will also have to donate NT$600,000 (US$19,500) to government coffers and perform 60 hours of community service, reports said.
Last year, Niu helped Chinese cinematographer Cao Yu enter the naval base at Tsoying near Kaohsiung to prepare work on his movie “Paradise in Service.” Even though the military had warned him that the Vital Areas Regulations barred citizens of the People’s Republic of China from visiting the naval installation, Niu had helped Cao pose as a Taiwanese national to enter with his crew, reports said.
Niu admitted he was guilty during trial hearings, but he also pleaded for lenient judgment and claimed he was facing financial problems, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported on its website Friday. Niu reportedly expressed the hope that he could be sentenced to community service and social work rather than be forced to pay fines.
The newspaper reported that just days before the sentencing, the director was seen attending a basketball game in the United States. Niu had a front-row seat, for which a ticket was estimated to cost at least NT$100,000 (US$3,200), the paper reported. The director replied online that a friend had given him the ticket.
As a result of last year’s incident, the military tightened its cooperation with movie and television crews seeking to use sensitive installations for their work.
“Paradise in Service,” which was released last September, tells the story of a young military conscript posted on the island of Kinmen close to China’s coast in the 1960s, when tension between the two sides still ran high.