Thu, Jul 15, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Octopuses pick next mayor of Taipei City

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, second left, laughs during a session of the Taipei City Council yesterday as Chuang Ruei-hsiung, second right, and other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors try to get two octopuses to predict who will win the Taipei mayoral election in November — Hau or DPP challenger Su Tseng-chang.

PHOTO: HUANG CHUNG-JUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Following recent reports about Paul the German oracle octopus and his predictions for the soccer World Cup, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday brought two octopuses to the Taipei City Council to predict the winner in November's Taipei mayoral election.

During a question-and-answer session with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), DPP Taipei City councilors Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) and Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) prepared a tank with two plastic boxes inside, one with Hau's photo and one with a photo of his DPP opponent, former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

The first octopus to be dropped into the water tank quickly moved to the box with Hau's picture and embraced the box with its tentacles, attracting a round of laughter and applause from city government officials.

The second octopus, however, moved to Su's picture and was followed by the first octopus, still holding the box with Hau's picture.

“Apparently, the octopus predicts that Su will win the mayoral election. Mayor Hau, with the forecast and your low support rate, I think you should be worried about the election's results,” Chuang said.

Hau played down the forecast and said he was confident he would win the Nov. 27 election.

“It's clear that he [the first octopus] chose my picture. He grabbed my box tightly,” Hau said.

Hau also accused the DPP councilors of animal abuse after Chuang tried to affect the octopus' choice with a long stick.

“It's an act of animal abuse and you are killing the octopuses by putting them in an environment that is not suitable for them,” Hau said.

Paul the octopus became a superstar after accurately predicting the winner of the World Cup and the outcome of all six of Germany's World Cup matches.

Chuang said the octopuses were purchased at a fish market and would be freed after the session.

Yen I-feng (嚴一峰), director of Taipei City's Animal Protection Office, said the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) only includes regulations on vertebrates. Octopuses and other invertebrates are not protected by the act.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City councilors later joined Hau in accusing the DPP councilors of abusing the octopuses and using the animals for political show.

“I think the question-and-answer session should focus on the discussion of municipal policies and Hau's performance. The octopus show is nothing but a hoax,” KMT Taipei City Councilor Dai Hsi-chin (戴錫欽) said.

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