Fri, May 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Three Taipei movie houses fail safety, sanitary inspection

FOOD WAR:City officials are also investigating complaints about some movie theaters’ ban on bringing food bought outside the venues

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Three movie houses in Taipei failed fire safety or sanitary regulations in the city government’s latest inspection of 17 major movie theaters, while public complaints about several movie houses’ ban on bringing in food purchased outside continued.

The in89 Digital Cinemax in Ximending was found to have violated fire safety regulations because it failed to send its fire safety inspectors for training, said Angel Chen (陳譽馨), a specialist with the city’s Department of Tourism and Information.

Spot Taipei Cinema and Dynasty Cinema, on the other hand, violated sanitary regulations because it did not hold regular health examinations for staff, Chen said.

The department is holding a joint inspection on public safety, movie rating systems and facilities for disabled people at the movie houses with the city’s Department of Health and Department of Legal Affairs. The inspection team will complete the inspection of another 14 theaters next month, and those that have violated regulations will be required to make improvements, Chen said.

Chen Hsin-cheng (陳信誠), Taipei’s chief consumer ombudsman, said the city government also continued to monitor movie theaters’ food regulations and ticket refund policy, as complaints about strict food bans and ticket refund remained high.

The office has handled 16 customer complaints so far this year about movie theaters’ ban on food purchased outside the venues, he said, adding that the city would instruct the theaters to follow the regulations to avoid being fined between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000.

Regulations issued by the former Government Information Office state that movie theaters should not ban food purchases from outside, with the exception of food considered a choking threat or food that is too spicy or pungent.

Chen said cinemas that prohibit moviegoers from eating hamburgers or French fries, or bringing soft drinks into movie theaters when they also sell those items, are unreasonable and would face a fine for violating the regulations.

“Movie theaters should only ban moviegoers from bringing food that is too spicy or pungent. If any theater abused the regulations, we will continue fining them until they make improvements,” he said.

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