Wed, Nov 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Planning for Double Ninth Festival hike was flawed: Ko

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The planning for a hiking event for elderly people last weekend, when several people sustained injuries, was flawed, and the Taipei City Government will improve pedestrian traffic flow and command communications for coming events, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-Je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Saturday was the Double Ninth Festival — the traditional senior citizens’ day which falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. The Taipei Department of Social Welfare and Public Works Department held a hiking event for the city’s senior residents at Jiantanshan Hiking Trail (劍潭山親山步道) and prepared sweepstake tickets, gifts and snacks for participants.

However, an unexpectedly large number of people turned out for the event and the crowd surged when people rushed to claim sweepstake tickets and gifts, with more than a dozen people falling to the ground.

Another 23 people were injured in the crush, the city government said.

Ko apologized to the participants later on Saturday.

The city government at a meeting on Monday determined that command communications and pedestrian traffic flow systems were flawed, Ko said, adding that the city government would modify its standard operating procedures accordingly to prevent similar incidents.

The city government would also reissue gifts to participants who did not receive them on Saturday, Ko said.

“The city government has held similar events in the past five years, but the number of participants was between 2,500 and 3,300 each time, so this year 7,000 gifts were prepared,” he said, adding that although it was raining on Saturday, more than 30,000 people attended the event.

The city government would discuss on how to control or predict the number of participants that attend free events, Ko added.

Responding to a media inquiry about a city councilor speculating that the event was to garner support for Ko in next year’s mayoral election, Ko said the event was held to make elderly residents happy, and although his intentions were good, the result was unexpectedly bad.

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