Fri, Jul 18, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Taipei fines resident for cutting down tree

ENVIRONMENT The Cultural Affairs Bureau says citizens cannot destroy trees without the city's permission, regardless of whether those trees are on public or private property

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A tree sits in front of a house in a Taipei neighborhood. The owner of the house was fined NT$50,000 yesterday for violating the Taipei City Tree Protection Bylaw.

PHOTO: LIAO CHENG-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Taipei City's Cultural Affairs Bureau fined a city resident NT$50,000 yesterday for cutting down an old tree.

"The city landscape is made up of various trees and belongs to all citizens. No one has the right to damage it," said Damon Deng (鄧宗德), spokesman for the bureau.

"That is why the Taipei City Tree Protection Bylaw (台北市樹木保護自治條例) was passed by the city government two months ago," Deng said.

The bylaw protects trees on both public and private property.

"Citizens are allowed to prune trees after applying to the Cultural Affairs Bureau for permission," Deng said.

Chinese-language media reports said the citizen fined is Liao Hsio-chung (廖修鐘), owner of the Howard Plaza Hotel.

Hong Chiu-chia (洪秋甲), the borough chief of Lung-Ann borough, said yesterday that Liao had already been warned by the bureau about cutting down trees.

Liao was fined for cutting a mango tree, which was 15m high.

"The owner asserted that those trees were located on his private property so he could dispose of them at will," Hong said. "The green tunnel created by white poplars, pipals, ginkgos and myrtles is so special to our neighborhood that many residents were upset about their being cut down," Hong said.

Hong has devoted himself to preserving trees in the neighborhood for more than 15 years. He said he was hurt to see these old trees vanishing.

"The most beautiful Japanese houses in Taipei City are surrounded by these precious trees in this neighborhood. We want to keep them," Hong said.

Cultural Affairs Bureau chief Liao Hsien-hao (廖咸浩) said the bylaw is aimed not only at protecting the landscape and the environment but also respecting the lives of old trees and preserving culture.

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