Mon, Jan 05, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Penghu solicits investors to fund proposed casinos

GAMBLING ON GAMBLING The government wants more than NT$1 trillion from investors who hope to capitalize on plans to build mammoth casino resorts

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Penghu County Government has decided to solicit NT$30 billion (US$909 million) in private investment to help develop massive casino resorts, the Public Construction Commission (PCC) reported yesterday.

As part of the Executive Yuan-initiated iTaiwan 12 Development Projects, Penghu has crafted an investment project to build tourist casinos at two locations in the offshore county.

The Penghu casino and resort project will be the largest program of the iTaiwan 12 Projects, PCC officials said.

It has been estimated that the mammoth i-Taiwan 12 Projects — initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during his presidential campaign — will require investment of NT$3.99 trillion (US$121.57 billion) over a span of eight years, with the government funding NT$2.65 trillion and the private sector footing the rest.

The government hopes to induce the private sector to inject at least NT$200 billion a year to capitalize on the development projects, PCC officials said.

In Penghu, planning for the development of an “international vacation village,” which will be a 120-hectare zone featuring a tourist hotel with more than 2,000 rooms, a duty-free shopping mall, an international convention center, golf courses and casinos, will begin this year, the officials said.

Private investors are expected to be finalized by February 2010 with development work expected to kick off in 2011.

Two locations — the Houliao Bay (後寮灣) area and the Huhsi Port (湖西港) area — are expected to be candidates for the casino resort development plan, Penghu officials said.

However, any plans for development will remain on the drawing board until an amendment to the Offshore Islands Development Act (離島建設條例) is passed by the Legislative Yuan.

A countywide referendum on the building of casinos on Penghu would also have to be approved, the officials said.

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