The Keelung City Government is hoping to boost tourism and revive the local economy by building a casino resort, officials said, adding that the best location would be a nearby island.
Such a plan would require major investment and city officials are inviting Hon Hai Group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) to become a part of the project, which aims to establish a casino on Keelung Islet (基隆嶼), which is 4.9km to the northeast of the northern coastal city.
City officials are planning a floating casino by building breakwater jetties and docking a decommissioned cruise ship on the islet.
“The casino will be the closest venue for people in northern Taiwan and can be built in a short time,” a city official said. “If Terry Gou agrees to invest in the project, construction of the casino can be completed in three years.”
Keelung City Councilor Lu Mei-ling (呂美玲) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supported the proposal, saying that if Gou collaborates on the project, it would be a major boost for the city’s tourism sector.
However, some other councilors said that Keelung Islet does not have enough land available for further development, so the planning phase of the project would require careful thought.
Last week, Gou had suggested that a casino complex should be built in Tamsui (淡水), New Taipei City (新北市).
However, government regulations only permit gaming resorts to be sited on outlying islands. As such, officials at the Keelung City Transportation and Tourism Bureau said that Keelung Islet is the most suitable site for exploring collaborative development of an offshore casino.
Deputy head of the bureau Wang Ying-che (王英哲) said that Keelung Islet has only a small harbor and so breakwater jetties would need to be built.
“The designated area will be rezoned as an ‘International Tourism and Vacation Sector’ to allow docking of a decommissioned cruise ship. We know that such vessels are usually equipped with guest accommodation, recreational facilities, venue space for meetings, shopping centers and also a casino,” Wang said.
“Therefore the floating casino proposal conforms to current regulations on offshore casino locations and would also not face problems regarding public safety,” he said.
Wang said the relevant land on Keelung Islet is under the administration of the Keelung City Government.
“The site has existing buildings and other constructions which are legally approved, and thus no amendment to the law is required,” he said.
“To develop the islet for the casino does not require any changes to city revitalization plans. So there are no legal problems and the project can be completed quickly with a minimum of investment,” Wang added.
The islet covers 22 hectares. It was once a military training zone with civilian access prohibited. It was opened up in 2001, allowing people to reach it by boat, and the islet was turned into a tourist park in 2002.
There are public ferry services to the islet, with the journey taking between 20 and 30 minutes. Services depart from Keelung Harbor’s yacht docks and also from the Bisha (碧砂) fishing port.
Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was in Keelung on Thursday to attend ceremonies at several temples, said that under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s administration there have been almost no major construction or development projects in Keelung in recent years.
“If the central government only wants to rely on setting up special zones for casino resorts to stimulate the economy and local development, then it is not realistic. These kind of projects are also not the best choice for Keelung,” Tsai said.
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
The boyfriend of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) was yesterday questioned by prosecutors after Kao on Tuesday reported that he had abused her. Raphael Lin (林秉樞) was taken in for questioning at the Grand Forward Hotel in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) yesterday morning, and police confiscated his mobile phone, iPad and a data storage device, prosecutors said, adding that they have applied to place Lin in judicial detention. Lin, who does not reside at his registered address, might attempt to flee or tamper with evidence, they said, adding that he has allegedly threatened victims in earlier abuse cases
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
Italian Representative to Taiwan Davide Giglio has praised the nation as a “silent giant” of the global supply chain, saying he is looking forward to establishing closer cooperation with Taiwan’s world-leading semiconductor sector. “Taiwan’s role in global production chains has largely gone unnoticed until recently. This may have to do with the fact that Taiwanese companies do not always enjoy strong brand power,” Giglio said in an interview with the Central News Agency. However, a global chip shortage has brought to light Taiwan’s strength in such a strategically important sector, he said. Italy, a leader in the automotive sector, was quick to realize