Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

‘Citizen spies’ on the rise amid hard economic times

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

In what could be a sign of the desperate economic times, an increasing number of residents are participating in a citizen informer program to help the Taipei City Government monitor violations of environmental protection regulations.

The city government said yesterday it had handed out more than NT$290,000 in rewards to people since January.

Statistics from the Department of Environmental Protection showed that the total amount of rewards given to people last year was NT$384,000. The city government has handed out fines of NT$297,540 in the past two months.

The slow economy could be a reason behind more residents’ participation in the program, the department’s sanitation inspection division said.

One deliveryman in his 30s received NT$50,000 by setting up a camera in his car to record violations, including throwing cigarette butts or spitting on the street, the division said yesterday.

Wang Da-chun (王大鈞), director of the division, said 95 percent of cases involved people who threw cigarette butts, spat on the ground, posted advertisements illegally and failed to clean up dog and cat droppings.

People who report infractions will be rewarded with between 30 percent and 50 percent of the fine, the department said.

People who report the littering of cigarette butts, for example, can receive 30 percent of the NT$1,200 fine.

Companies that fail to put a recycling symbol on recyclable products face fines of as much as NT$60,000, while the person who provides evidence of the violation can receive as much as NT$18,000.

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