Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday acknowledged that he told a member of his staff to leave a message on Yilan County Acting Commissioner Derek Chen’s (陳金德) Facebook fan page in response to a remark by Chen regarding Taipei City’s illegal construction problem.
The construction of illegal structures has increased rapidly across Yilan County’s farmlands over the past few years. Since the completion of the Hsuehshan Tunnel (雪山隧道) in 2006, the number of farmhouses in Yilan has reached more than 8,500 units, with more than 70 percent of them being illegal.
In an interview with the Chinese-language News & Market Web site on Nov. 23, Chen said: “Do you know how many illegally constructed units there are in Taipei City? I guess there are more than 100,000 units. But has Ko-P [Ko’s nickname] demolished them?”
The construction of illegal buildings in Taipei City is not even punished by imposing a fine, Chen said, adding that “if 1 percent of the illegally constructed units have been demolished, then I will tear down the illegally constructed units [in Yilan] for you to see.”
Ko on Thursday said Chen has “hit a snag for speaking too hastily” because Taipei has demolished more than 3 percent of the city’s illegally constructed units in one year.
Ko’s staff member, Lin Kun-feng (林昆鋒), also left a message on Chen’s Facebook fan page, which read “if you have difficulties, you can find other excuses next time” and “the problem with illegal construction is your problem, acting commissioner Chen.”
The message evoked suspicion as to whether Ko was behind Lin’s behavior.
While visiting the Taipei School for the Visually Impaired yesterday morning, Ko, in response to media queries, laughingly said that he knew about the incident, adding: “I’ve been reviewing my own actions too — I sometimes think that political figures shouldn’t be overconfident and exaggerate because we might hit a snag one day.”
Chen left a message in response to Lin’s post, saying “I accept your ridicule, but I still believe that while there are regulations that can punish them, the government shouldn’t infringe on people’s property rights — tearing them down will not solve Taiwan’s agricultural problems.”
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
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The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung