The Department of Health (DOH) is considering asking retailers to lock up charcoal sold in their stores to prevent people with suicidal tendencies from getting their hands on it.
A recent study by the department found that the most common suicide methods in the country were hanging, burning charcoal indoors and drinking pesticide, said Wang Tsung-hsi (王宗曦), deputy director of the department’s Bureau of Medical Affairs.
Although the number of deaths from suicide fell from 4,400 in 2006 to 3,417 last year, about two-thirds of them were caused by hanging or carbon monoxide poisoning from burning charcoal in a closed space, Wang said.
The study also found that burning charcoal was the method of choice to take one’s life in urban areas in the north, while ingesting pesticide was more common in rural areas in the south because it is more readily available, Wang said.
The idea of locking up charcoal in stores was inspired by Hong Kong, where the government tried the idea first in Tuen Mun District and it lowered the number of suicide deaths by half, he said.
The same idea may be applied to pesticides, he added.
The department plans to require that pesticide manufacturers set aside NT$1 for every kilogram of product sold to finance the production of storage containers with locks.
The containers will be given to farmers to store their pesticides, preventing others from getting their hands on the potentially deadly chemicals, Wang said.
Medical Affairs Bureau Director Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) urged store clerks to watch out for people who only purchase charcoal.
The government has shown renewed concern over the issue after a family of four were found dead in their home in Shulin District (樹林), New Taipei City (新北市), after using charcoal to take their lives. The parents apparently killed themselves and their children because of their inability to pay off their debts, police said.
New Taipei City recorded 548 suicides last year, 30 percent of which were from charcoal burning, the municipality’s health department said.
The DOH had planned to require registration of charcoal purchases, but dropped the idea after it drew heavy public criticism, officials said.
Police have detained a Taoyuan couple suspected of over the past two months colluding with human trafficking rings and employment scammers in Southeast Asia to send nearly 100 Taiwanese jobseekers to Cambodia. At a media briefing in Taipei yesterday, the Criminal Investigation Bureau presented items seized from the couple, including alleged victims’ passports, forged COVID-19 vaccination records, mobile phones, bank documents, checks and cash. The man, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and his girlfriend, surnamed Tsan (詹), were taken into custody last month, after police at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport stopped four jobseekers from boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, said Dustin Lee (李泱輯),
BILINGUAL PLAN: The 17 educators were recruited under a program that seeks to empower Taiwanese, the envoy to the Philippines said The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines on Thursday hosted a send-off event for the first group of English-language teachers from the country who were recruited for a Ministry of Education-initiated program to advance bilingual education in Taiwan. The 14 teachers and three teaching assistants are part of the Taiwan Foreign English Teacher Program, which aims to help find English-language instructors for Taiwan’s public elementary and junior-high schools, the office said. Seventy-seven teachers and 11 teaching assistants from the Philippines have been hired to teach in Taiwan in the coming school year, office data showed. Among the first group is 57-year-old
TRICKED INTO MOVING: Local governments in China do not offer any help, and Taiwanese there must compete with Chinese in an unfamiliar setting, a researcher said Beijing’s incentives for Taiwanese businesspeople to invest in China are only intended to lure them across the Taiwan Strait, after which they receive no real support, an expert said on Sunday. Over the past few years, Beijing has been offering a number of incentives that “benefit Taiwanese in name, while benefiting China in reality,” a cross-strait affairs expert said on condition of anonymity. Strategies such as the “31 incentives” are intended to lure Taiwanese talent, capital and technology to help address China’s economic issues while also furthering its “united front” efforts, they said. Local governments in China do not offer much practical
‘ORDINARY PEOPLE’: A man watching Taiwanese military drills said that there would be nothing anyone could do if the situation escalates in the Taiwan Strait Many people in Taiwan look upon China’s military exercises over the past week with calm resignation, doubting that war is imminent and if anything, feeling pride in their nation’s determination to defend itself. After a visit to Taiwan last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China has sent ships and aircraft across an unofficial buffer between Taiwan and China’s coast and missiles over Taipei and into waters surrounding the nation since Thursday last week. However, Rosa Chang, proudly watching her son take part in Taiwanese military exercises that included dozens of howitzers firing shells into the Taiwan Strait off