Mon, Oct 11, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Uninvited guests crash expo trial

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

An elderly woman takes a rest away from the crowd during a visit to the Taipei International Flora Exposition, which opened for a second trial run yesterday. 

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Uninvited visitors to the Taipei International Flora Exposition yesterday scolded the organizers for not allowing them in, forcing staff to once again break the rules on the second day of the trial run.

The event organizing committee had planned to open the Yuanshan Park area to only 5,000 invited guests every day during the first phase of the trial, but allowed all uninvited visitors to enter the site on Saturday to avoid confrontations. Dozens of uninvited residents from nearby districts and other cities blocked the front gate of the expo and bickered with staff over the guest rules after being barred from entering.

“I’ve been waiting here since 7am and now you are telling me I can’t go in?” asked Chen Yu-shin (陳郁欣), a Tainan resident who arrived in Taipei on Saturday and sought to enter the site with her family.

Yeh Chi-hui (葉圻輝), a resident of Datong (大同) District in Taipei, joined Chen in protesting against the expo trial’s rules.

“I came into the park on Saturday and there’s no reason I cannot go in today,” he said.

Expo staff at the entrance initially insisted that uninvited residents could not enter the site, but the director of the organizing committee, Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文), later agreed to allow all visitors to enter. More uninvited residents showed up in the afternoon, including many foreign workers who converged on the site after church. The total number of visitors was estimated at 20,000, beating the 12,960 who visited the site on Saturday.

Chen Hsiung-wen played down concerns over a breakdown in visitor regulations, though he called on the public not to come to the expo until the final phase of the trial run between Oct. 25 and Oct. 28. He nevertheless said expo officials would adopt a “flexible strategy” if some people showed up uninvited.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) yesterday accused the Taipei City Government of failing to stick to the trial run plans and confusing the public with vague rules.

“What else can we expect from the city government if it cannot even keep the number of visitors under control?” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Taipei Mayor Allen Chiu (邱文雄) said the organizing committee had collected 1,277 questionnaires from Saturday’s visitors, with 74.4 percent saying they were satisfied with the expo. Those who gave bad reviews complained about the lack of signage, trashcans, rest areas and restrooms in the park area.

Chiu said the organizing committee had already increased the number of trashcans and seats, and would soon put up more signs.

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