The New Taipei City (新北市) Government, apparently in a bid to curb increasing cases of groups of young people having drug parties in hotels and recreational facilities, has asked entertainment establishments to strengthen self-management by informing the police when more than six people aged 30 and under check into rooms with KTV and special multimedia facilities.
The new measure took effect yesterday morning and prompted mixed reactions.
The city government told a news conference on Friday that so far this year the police have registered a total of 61 cases, involving 265 people, of drug use in hotels, guest houses and motels. Among them, 16 cases, involving 165 people, were drug parties with more than six participants, with an average of 10 people per party, it added.
To prevent more people from holding drug parties at hotels, guest houses and the like, the city government’s Public Safety Inspection Team has decided to employ Article 23 of the Regulations for the Administration of Hotels (旅館業管理規則), as a basis for the new measure. The article requires that hotel administrators register guests’ information.
Effective yesterday, hotels in the city are required to inform their local police station as soon as more than six young people aged 30 and under check into special types of rooms that have multimedia facilities installed.
Establishments that fail to report such cases may face a fine of between NT$15,000 and NT$50,000, in line with Article 55 of the Act for the Development of Tourism (發展觀光條例).
Hotel operators had mixed feelings about the policy. While some said it was troublesome and that “young people often show low degrees of cooperation,” others said that the policy would make it easier to request guests’ information. They added that reducing the number of drug-using guests could strengthen the positive image of hotels, as well as attract “normal consumers.”
A hotel operator surnamed Chen (陳) said it is already difficult to have guests register their personal information when they check in, and “now it would be even more troublesome to require young people to register their personal information.”
Another operator, surnamed Huang (黃), noting that the new measure targets special rooms with KTV facilities, said people who intend to “misbehave” could easily get around the measure by “squeezing into standard rooms.”
He also asked, since the new policy only targets cases where more than six people check in at the same time, “what if two people check in and four other people arrive later as visiting guests? How are we then to request that they all register their personal information?”
New Taipei City Hotel Association chairperson Lin Chung-tai (林忠泰), on the other hand, was positive about the policy.
When drug users leave a hotel room, the room often looks like it has been bombed, he said, adding that as the quality of customers has improved over recent years, he believes hotels can attract many better guests as long as the hotels provide a good environment.
New Taipei City councilors across party lines disapproved of the policy targeting a selected group of customers and behavior.
“This is wrong,” New Taipei City Councilor Chou Sheng-kao (周勝考) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said.
“People enjoy freedom of movement and have the freedom to consume whatever they want wherever they want to, and having hotels report information to the police without the customers behaving suspiciously seems to be a human rights violation,” he said.
“It’s like being in a police state,” New Taipei City Councilor Chiang Yung-chang (江永昌) of the Democratic Progressive Party said, adding it is inappropriate for government agencies to expand their administrative powers without a legal basis.