Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) yesterday voiced his support for an anti-casino campaign, vowing that his party would do everything to boycott the passage of a bill on creating casino resorts on the nation’s outlying islands.
“Legalizing gambling is a very serious issue that would have a profound impact on our society,” Huang said during a meeting yesterday with members of the Alliance Against the Legalization of Gambling at the party’s headquarters in Taipei.
“It’s quite worrisome that the government is trying to push through a bill to allow establishing casinos on outlying islands,” Huang added.
“The TSU will do everything it can to prevent the bill from being passed in the Legislative Yuan,” Huang added.
Huang said it is equally worried about some universities offering courses related to gambling.
“[These courses] are the downfall of universities, this is education without soul,” he added.
Citing Singapore as an example, alliance convener Shih Chao-hui (釋昭慧) said that while the city-state’s government had put strict regulations in place to prevent Singaporeans from going into a casino resort it opened a few years ago, “statistics still show that Singaporeans make up the majority of guests at the casino resort.”
“Looking at Singapore’s experience, it is clear that the objective of attracting foreign tourists instead of local residents is a lie,” Shih said.
Wang Hua-ti, a retired junior-high school principal from Matsu, said that most educators in Matsu are against casinos, “because if the casino proposal is approved, we wouldn’t know how to teach our students about moral values, or how to explain to students why gambling is illegal elsewhere in the country, but legal in Matsu.”
Kam Ka-ho (甘家豪), a Macanese student studying in Taiwan, said that while casinos may be an important source of tax income for the Macau government and a major tourist attraction, “most Macanese have no hope for the future because working in casinos seems to be the only job available to us.”
He added that many Macanese young people are giving up higher education because they can find jobs at casino which do not require higher education, and even some teachers are quitting their jobs to work in a casino.
“I am also a victim of the casino industry; my father lost all the money he planned to use to buy a house for the family in just one night at a casino,” Kam said.
“In fact, many families are having a lot of problems now as many parents work in casinos and have no time to look after their children,” Kam added.
TSU Policy and Publicity director Chow Mei-li (周美里) assured the anti-casino activists that the TSU will have more meetings with them to develop strategies against the bill on gambling, and promised that the party would stand firmly with them on the issue.