Sat, Jun 02, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Activists slam Jason Hu’s casino musings

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Anti-gambling activists hold up signs that say “nonsense” — a double entendre that could also be read as “Hu says” — as they condemn Taichung Mayor Jason Hu yesterday over his recent remarks about how modern casino resorts could be healthy places to spend time with one’s family.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Anti-gambling activists yesterday condemned Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) over his remarks that modern casino resorts could be places that are “full of sunshine ... suitable for the whole family to spend their leisurely time.”

Hu made the remarks during a question-and-answer session at the Greater Taichung Council, when independent Greater Taichung Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) asked if the city could become home to a casino resort.

At the time, Hu said the idea of a “casino” should be different from “gambling,” as casinos are no longer connected with the sex trade, organized and petty crime and drugs.

“Take Las Vegas, for example, it’s full of sunshine and is suitable for the whole family to spend their leisure time at,” Hu said.

He added that it was a pity that casino resorts in Singapore, Macau and South Korea are making money off Taiwanese visitors because casinos are not allowed in Taiwan.

“We condemn Hu for the remarks he made. His description of casino resorts is not the truth,” Alliance Against the Legalization of Gambling convener Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

“He should take back his remarks and apologize to all the residents of Greater Taichung,” Ho said.

Homemakers United Foundation chairwoman Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) said casino resorts might appear luxurious, while advertising campaigns make it seem like everyone wins money in casinos.

“But if everyone is making money, who’s losing money? How would the casino make money?” Chen said.

“When we look at what is happening in Las Vegas right now, it’s clear that casino resorts are still connected to organized crime, sexual assaults and drugs,” she said. “If we allow casinos in Taiwan, society can only go down from there.”

Gay and Lesbian Couples Association founder Nelson Chen (陳敬學) said he fully supports Hu’s idea of making Greater Taichung a city “full of sunshine” and “suitable for the whole family to spend their leisure time.”

“But there are so many ways to make Taichung a better city. Is allowing casino resorts the only way you can think of?” he said.

In related developments, the alliance has launched a series of anti-casino campaigns on the archipelago of Matsu (馬祖) — administratively Lienchiang County — ahead of a referendum on July 7 by county residents on whether the archipelago should accept casino resorts.

The campaigns include stationing at least one activist on each of Matsu’s major islands, hoping to block casino resorts anywhere in the county.

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