Fri, May 30, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Premier vows to take firm action on hoarders of gas

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Government agencies will take action to curb gasoline hoarding, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday.

During a Cabinet meeting Liu directed government agencies to step up inspections on fuel storage facilities in an attempt to demonstrate the administration’s determination to stop profiteering on gasoline, Cabinet spokeswoman Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said.

“Those caught hoarding will not be dealt with leniently,” Liu was quoted by Shih as saying.

Liu said that if necessary, “allied action” would be taken by central and local governments, law enforcement authorities and officials from consumer protection associations to crack down on hoarders.

The premier directed the Fair Trade Commission to complete inspections of fuel storage conditions around the country as soon as possible and come up with solutions to the problems.

These would include planning “anti-hoarding allied action,” Shih said.

A plan to curb hoarding and stabilize commodity prices was passed at the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Shih said.

For motorists or motorcyclists scrambling to buy gasoline or diesel in anticipation of an imminent fuel price hike, Shih said, some officials suggested at the meeting that the Ministry of Economic Affairs make it clear what kind of containers can or cannot be used to store gasoline or diesel.

This was on the grounds that it is extremely dangerous for ordinary people to make large purchases of such potentially volatile products.

The public is discouraged from purchasing gasoline or other fuel products and storing them in their own containers, Shih said.

In related news, Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) investigators in the south of the country reported yesterday that they had discovered a chemicals company in Tainan County that was suspected of hoarding more than 20,000 liters of gasoline at its factory.

If found guilty, the firm would be violating public safety as well as fair trade principles.

Police in Miaoli County raided two gravel-processing plants yesterday to discover that some 42,000 liters of diesel were being stored there.

Also yesterday, more than 30,000 liters of diesel for fishing boats was discovered in a makeshift factory in the coastal township of Taihsi (台西) in Yunlin County.

The owner of the products was handed over to the Yunlin County prosecutors’ office for further questioning.

The price increases came in the aftermath of the Cabinet giving a green light to CPC Corp, Taiwan, the major state-owned fuel processor and distributor, to raise domestic fuel prices on Tuesday, six days earlier than had been anticipated.

The “unexpected” price increase was aimed at preventing hoarding among consumers and avoiding endangering public safety, Shih said on Wednesday.

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