Tue, Nov 18, 2003 - Page 3 News List

KMT city councilor wants sex shops closed

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taipei City councilor lashed out at the city government yesterday for allowing sex shops to operate near schools in the Tienmu area, calling on officials to ban the stores.

Showing slides to Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and city bureau chiefs of the merchandise available in the sex-toy shops, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) City Councilor Lai Shu-ju (賴素如) asked officials whether they knew that the most popular birthday gifts among high school students were those "disgusting sex toys."

"These sex shops have targeted young students as their major customers," Lai said. "The businesses know there is no related law to regulate them, so they flagrantly operate around school areas, which has been seriously affecting the students' mental and physical health."

Lai criticized the city's Bureau of Education, Bureau of Police, Bureau of Health and its market supervision division for failing to investigate and ban the shops.

Lai said illegal pills that claim to have the same effect as Viagra are available at the shops.

Health bureau director Chang Hang (張珩) said the bureau will quickly punish those who sell prohibited pills.

The director of the Taipei City Bureau of Police, Wang Cho-chun (王卓鈞), said police have clamped down on a few pornographic VCDs sold in the sex shops. Head of the market supervision division Lin Wan-fa (林萬發) said 12 shops have already been penalized.

But Lai said these were passive and ineffective actions.

Lai said she received many petitions from the parents of Taipei American School, Taipei Japanese School and Shihtung Elementary School (士東國小) who were worried about their children being affected by sex shops and demanded the shops be expelled from the community.

"Even the international community cares much more about our educational environment than city government officials," Lai said.

Receiving a petition from Lai with about 2,300 signatures, Ma said he would urge that illegal shops be closed.

But Ma also said the schools should educate students about sex so that they can make themselves "immune from those bad influences," adding that students can also see sex and porn on the Internet.

Taipei City Bureau of Education Director Wu Ching-chi (吳清基) said he will immediately order all elementary, junior and senior high schools to ban students from going to these sex shops and enhance related sex education.

A Taipei American School parent representative who was present at the session said most heads of city government bureaus did not know about the problem and that the government lacked data on the sex shops.

But she said she was happy to have the chance to present the problem to the city government because it informs the bureaus of the issue, allows them to investigate further and hopefully allows them to come up with regulations to deal with the issue.

With additional reporting by Debby Wu

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