City vows to stop opening of mall

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Nov 21, 2001 - Page 2

The Taipei City Government vowed yesterday to prevent a new shopping mall officially opening on Friday unless it first passes a mandatory fire safety inspection and acquires an operating license.

"We'll do everything in accordance with the law, including issuing tickets if it doesn't obtain the related licenses or pass fire safety checks," said City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Ma made the remark in response to questions from DPP City Councilor Yeh Hsin-yi (葉信義) during an interpellation yesterday afternoon.

Yeh accused the city government of ignoring its responsibilities regarding public safety vis-a-vis Core Pacific City (京華城) -- a new shopping mall that is scheduled to open on Friday.

"I'm very curious to know why Mayor Ma has put the interests of a financial syndicate before those of the public?" Yeh asked.

Despite the fact that the shopping mall has not yet obtained an operating license, it began trial sales on Monday.

Although the main structure of the building has passed a preliminary safety inspection, it has not yet passed the second-phase inspection, which is conducted after interior furnishings have been installed.

According to standard procedures, the mall is not allowed to apply for an operating license until it passes the second-phase fire safety inspection.

Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), a spokesperson for the city government, said that the city doesn't give special favors to anyone when it comes to public safety.

"Take for example the showing of movies at the mall theater yesterday. We issued a ticket this afternoon because it had failed to apply for the appropriate permit even though no admission fee was charged," Wu said.

According to the Movie Law, Core Pacific City may face a fine of up to NT$600,000, depending on a final decision to be made by the Government Information Office.

According to Wu, the city had tried to persuade the theater to cancel yesterday afternoon's free showing, but managers there turned a deaf ear to its "friendly advice."