Tue, Jan 20, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Taipei mayor slams Hon Hai newspaper adverts and threats

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je speaks to reporters in Taipei yesterday, saying that the Taipei City Government will not accept threats from corporations after Hon Hai stopped construction of the Syntrend Creative Park.

Photo: CNA

The Taipei City Government will not accept threats from corporations, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday after Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團) stopped construction of the Syntrend Creative Park (三創園區).

“I strongly disagree with spending millions in advertisements to send a message to the city government,” Ko said. “The city government will not take threats from corporations.”

Hon Hai yesterday took out a half-page ad on the front pages of six major Chinese-language newspapers, following claims by Taipei city councilors that the NT$1 billion (US$32 million) 50-year lease the firm is set to pay for the site was too low.

In the ad, the firm said that the reasonableness and legality of its bid would “withstand any test,” calling on the city government to publicize all documentation related to the bidding process within 48 hours. It also announced that construction at the site would cease until the city government determines the legality of the bidding process.

Hon Hai’s ad follows controversy caused by several Taipei development projects which were outsourced to private contractors under previous administrations, with Ko promising to re-examine unreasonable contract terms.

”How could the corporation be so completely arrogant?” asked Ko rhetorically in response to the firm’s ad, adding that the corporation had acted as if “the country is controlled by corporations.”

“How could a corporation use this tone to speak to the government,” he said, adding that the city government would investigate the case at its own pace, while taking legal measures if the firm ceases construction.

“There’s no way all the documents can be publicized in 48 hours,” Taipei City Government Department of Finance Commissioner Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) said, adding that the documents would have to be checked to ensure that no corporate secrets were released.

He added that all related documentation would be sent to the Clean Government Commission for evaluation when it has been established.

Ko said yesterday that the Clean Government Commission would be established this week, with specific details due to be announced today.

“As we’ve been in the process of dealing with the aftermath [of the previous administration], we’ve uncovered many problems, but we’re still unclear as to the cause,” Ko said, in response to questions over whether he was seeking to speed up the investigation into possible corruption cases.

The commission was originally due to be established in March.

The Syntrend Creative Park is being constructed next to the Guanghua Digital Plaza (光華數位新天地) and was billed by the previous administration as a way to turn the electronics district into a “shopping heaven,” which would surpass Tokyo’s Akihabara District.

With construction on the main building already completed, the firm’s announcement will mainly effect construction of a skybridge to the neighboring plaza.

The city government required Syntrend to construct a skybridge following concerns that the new development would drain customers from the neighboring plaza.

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