Fewer than 10 illegal radio stations remain after the National Communications Commission (NCC) launched a comprehensive effort to clamp down on the operators three years ago, according to an NCC official yesterday.
NCC spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the number of illegal radio stations dropped from approximately 190 in the third quarter of 2008 to less than 10 last month, adding that the number varies from six to eight.
Despite the success, Chen said the NCC hoped that an amendment to the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) would be passed at the legislature during at the coming legislative session so that the underused radio frequencies can be assigned to new operators, which is the real solution to the issue of illegal radio stations.
The amendment passed the first reading at the Transportation Committee during the previous legislative session. It has yet to be passed at the third reading.
Cheng Chuan-ping (鄭泉泙), director of the commission’s Northern Regulatory Department, said that underground radio operators often install the radio transmitters in remote areas. Some even tried to intimidate the NCC inspectors by setting up animal traps or putting up a sign claiming that the machine rooms would explode after 15 minutes, he said.
“Sometimes, our staff have to carry confiscated electronic equipment weighing more than 10kg down winding mountain trails,” Cheng said. “On some occasions, they needed to climb 20m tall iron towers to dismantle the equipment.”
Cheng said the inspectors must strictly adhere to legal procedures when raiding the illegal radio stations, adding that they must collect evidence first and apply for search warrants from the prosecutors.