Tue, Aug 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Critics slam Hu over city crime rate

By Chen Hui-ping  /  Staff reporter

While the alleged kidnapping and murder of Greater Taichung-based businessman Shih Chia-chin (施家金) has again triggered public criticism of security in the city, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) yesterday said that it is only an isolated case.

The decomposing body of the 57-year-old Shih was found in a mountainous area of Greater Tainan late on Sunday, after his alleged abduction early on Aug. 18.

Hu said that he knows the case could be seen as additional “proof” that the city is not safe, but he stressed that the event is an isolated one and declared war on organized crime.

Citing public safety statistics, Hu said that from January until last month, only 75 major crimes were reported in Greater Taichung, compared with 194 in New Taipei City, 184 in Taipei, 171 in Greater Tainan and 135 in Greater Kaohsiung.

He added that Greater Taichung has the lowest crime rates among the nation’s five special municipalities.

Despite Hu’s statements, netizens yesterday questioned his ability to fight crime, saying that since March 2007, the mayor has “declared war on organized crime” 23 times, but major crimes still happen in the city.

According to an unpublished survey conducted by the Ministry of the Interior on public satisfaction with security in the fourth quarter last year, Greater Taichung ranked the worst among the five special municipalities.

According to the survey, up to 82.91 percent of Greater Tainan residents are satisfied with security in the city, 76.78 percent in Taipei, 73.64 percent in New Taipei City and 73.11 in Greater Kaohsiung, while satisfaction drops to 60.62 in Greater Taichung.

Past survey results also rank Greater Taichung last among the five special municipalities in all four quarters last year.

When the numbers were leaked to media outlets last year, Hu protested to the then-minister of the interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源), but Lee said he did not know how reporters got the figures.

Shih, the victim who made a fortune from the online gambling business, became a billionaire by investing in real estate and operating hypermarkets at home and abroad.

According to police, Shih returned to Taiwan from a trip to the US and was picked up by his chauffeur at the Taiwan Taoyaun International Airport. Instead of being taken home, Shih told his family to transfer NT$30 million (US$1 million) into a bank account designated by his kidnappers, police said.

The police later used surveillance cameras to determine that the chauffeur had two accomplices who abandoned Shih’s Mercedes-Benz in Greater Tainan.

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