Tue, Nov 11, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Taipei a porn paradise: councilors

BY JEWEL HUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-chien, right, points at a chart listing the top 10 kinds of businesses that provide sexual services in the city. He accused Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, left, of half-hearted attempts to rein in the sex industry.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, LIBERTY TIMES

Taipei City councilors from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) blasted Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday for the city's alleged growing reputation as a "sex capital."

The accusation was leveled at Ma during yesterday's interpellation session at the city council for what they described as half-hearted attempts to rein in the sex industry.

"The sex industry in Taipei has become rampant since Ma took over as mayor five years ago," said Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), pointing out that there were over 200 KTVs, restaurants and wine shops overtly or covertly providing sexual services throughout Taipei.

"Yet we never saw Ma's administration crack down on these illegal businesses with any resolve," Wang said.

"Often the police would only enforce the law in a perfunctory manner. Some of them have even accepted bribes from these busi-nesses," Wang said.

Wang showed a table listing alleged protection fees which sex workers pay to police.

Wang also said that sex-related businesses have to pay between NT$10,000 and NT$80,000 per month, according to their relationship with police, so that they can operate without hindrance.

"The police became rich through graft, and turn a blind eye to the sex industry and even cover for them," said Wang, stressing Ma should be held responsible for the police's conduct.

Wang, together with fellow DPP councilors Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) and Lu Ying-ying (呂瀅瀅), urged Ma to show some resolve and expel the sex industry from Taipei within the month.

The DPP councilors also criticized Ma for not handling the banning of pornographic VCDs with the same vigor as a contested VCD lampooning People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

"The city government clamped down on the VCD that made fun of Soong with a surprising swiftness, yet they seem to pretend not to see these VCDs without registration or copyright that are on the market," Hsu said.

"I suspect that Ma handles cases with specific targets in mind," Hsu said, adding that Ma was acting from political motivation because of pressure exerted on him by PFP city councilors.

Ma denied the accusations and said the city government enforced the law regardless of target or content.

"All enforcement conforms to law. There's no difference in treatment in terms of the object of that treatment," said Ma, adding that the city government had been working hard to crack down on the sex industry and would never reduce its power to do so.

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