Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei councilors slam towing firms and police

PARKING PROBLEMS Two KMT councilors said that motorists in certain locations, some close to the premises of towing firms,were being unfairly targeted

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two Taipei City councilors yesterday accused the police and private car-towing companies of conspiring to "steal" from motorists and displayed a list of 10 road sections where cars are at an unusually high risk of being towed.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors Chen Yung-te (陳永德) and Chen Yi-chou (陳義洲) said that the revenue collected from towing away cars at Bade Road Sec. 4, Jihe Road, Zhonghxiao E Road Sec. 4, Minquan E Road Sec. 6 and six other locations accounted for about one-tenth of the city's yearly towing charges.

According to the city's department of transportation, the city collected NT$500 million (US$15.6 million) worth of towing charges last year.

Both of the councilors complained that the city had insufficient parking spaces and that towing companies took advantage of motorists.

Chen Yung-te said that there were only 97 parking spaces available around Minquan E Road Sec. 6 and that there were only 300 parking spaces provided along Zhongxiao E Road Sec. 4.

Both also pointed out that the premises of some of the towing firms were close to these 10 road sections.

Two towing firms located in Beitou, for example, would find it convenient to tow cars from Jihe Road, the section that is closest to where they are located.

"[A towing company located near these sections] saves on gas and other expenses," Chen Yung-te said.

"The towing crew can get to the spot faster and more business opportunities will be available," he said.

Chen Yi-chou said there appeared to be flaws in the way cars were being subjected to towing.

"The police order that cars be towed immediately without even issuing tickets to the motorists first," he said.

Chen Shao-hsu (陳少旭), a spokesman for the Taipei City Police Department, said that cars were usually towed from locations close to department stores, night markets and from the neighborhood near Nanyang Street.

He said that vehicles were towed because motorists tend to think they can get away with parking their cars illegally.

Last year, more than 20,000 cars were towed in Taipei City, of which 3,082 were towed from Bade Road Sec. 4. About 2,600 were towed from Jihe Road and 2,264 were removed from Zhongxiao E Road Sec. 4.

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