Thu, Jun 28, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Lienchiang commissioner faces charges over casinos

‘TRICKERY’:Charges were filed yesterday against the commissioner for allegedly colluding with a company to trick residents of Matsu into supporting a casino

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Members of The Alliance Against the Legalization of Gambling hold up a sign outside the venue of a public hearing in Taipei yesterday, alleging that a development company paid bribes and committed other irregularities ahead of a local Matsu referendum on July 7 on whether they should accept casino resorts.

Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times

The Alliance Against the Legalization of Gambling yesterday filed charges with the Special Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID), accusing Lien-chiang County Commissioner Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生) — who administers the Matsu (馬祖) archipelago — of collaborating with a private business to trick residents into supporting the opening of casino resorts.

Alliance executive director Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said Yang has frequently participated in events organized by development company Taiwan Weidner Joint Development Co and handed out prizes such as iPads, cameras and stereos offered by the company.

Ho said the alliance found Yang had not only failed to screen the private company, but that he had also helped it pitch its casino resort proposal. Meanwhile, the company pledged to improve infrastructure and create job opportunities on the islands, he added.

As a referendum on whether Matsu should allow a casino resort to be built is scheduled for July 7, Ho said the prizes were bribes in exchange for Matsu residents’ support in the referendum.

He accused the company and the county government of deceiving residents by making unrealistic promises about the development of Matsu before the proposed casino resort has even been built.

He said the alliance also found that contrary to claims by the development company, it possesses no casino properties in the US, Macau or Singapore, but that it had been able to register paid-in capital of NT$1 million (US$33,400) in Taiwan.

Ho asked judicial authorities to suspend the referendum in view of the allegations.

Amendments to the Offshore Islands Development Act (離島建設條例) in January 2009 allow casinos to be constructed on outlying islands if residents approve the plan in a referendum.

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