Director convicted of taking Chinese national to naval base

Kaohsiung, Nov. 7 (CNA) Taiwanese film director Doze Niu was found guilty Friday of illegally taking a Chinese cinematographer to a Taiwanese naval base on a location-scouting trip for a film project, but he will likely not have to serve time in prison. The Kaohsiung District Court sentenced Niu to five months in prison, but also gave him the option of scaling down the sentence to a NT$150,000 (US$4,898) fine. He could also choose to have the sentence suspended for two years and pay a NT$600,000 penalty and complete 60 hours of community service, the court said. If he selects either of the first two options, the conviction will go on his criminal record, but if he opts for the suspended sentence, his record will be clean. The case can be appealed. In June 2013, Niu took Chinese cinematographer Cao Yu on a visit by his film crew to Zuoying naval base in Kaohsiung, and they boarded an outdated military ship to scout locations for his movie "Paradise in Service." Niu was later indicted on the charge of violating the Vital Area Regulations. Military security officers checked Cao Yu's identification before the film crew entered the base, but the military later discovered that he had entered the base using the identity of a Taiwanese citizen, according to the Navy. The Ministry of National Defense immediately ended its cooperation with Niu on the film project, and the Navy turned over evidence it had collected on the incident to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office for further investigation. The movie "Paradise in Service," which hit local cinemas in September, tells the story of soldiers and military prostitutes in outlying Kinmen County against the backdrop of the 1960s, after the Aug. 23 Artillery Battle of 1958 between Taiwan and China. At that time, Kinmen served as a military garrison in the defense of Taiwan against China. (By Chen Chao-fu and Elaine Hou)