Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Youth Corps stokes fear: committee

REFUND WORRIES:The corps said it operates 13 fitness centers that receive more than 1 million visits per month, and any refund to customers would require permission

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang speaks to reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee

The Cabinet’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee yesterday dismissed media reports that the China Youth Corps could face more than 1 million refund requests due to its designation as a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) affiliate, calling it a “phony issue.”

Committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) told reporters in Taipei that it should be easy for the corps to accurately estimate how many people might request refunds, given its abundant employees.

“Instead, the corps, which has long branded itself as an organization in the service of society, carelessly threw around the number 1 million to confuse the public,” Shih said. “I do not think using such inciting rhetoric will be good for the corps’ future operations.”

Shih said Taiwanese are passionate about learning and exercise, and would not flock to the corps for refunds just because it was listed as a KMT affiliate on Tuesday due to the party’s control over its personnel, finances and operations in the past.

Shih made the remarks one day after corps secretariat director Cheng Fei-wen (鄭斐文) was quoted by Chinese-language newspaper the Apple Daily as saying that it could receive more than 1 million requests for refunds for its fitness business alone.

“According to the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), we are required to apply for the committee’s approval for each refund request we receive,” Cheng was quoted as saying. “However, each of the corps’ 13 sports centers on average record about 83,000 visits per month, which means nearly 1.08 million visits nationwide. Potential refund requests could be affected.”

According to the committee’s investigations, in addition to the 13 sports centers, the corps also own 15 youth activity centers and 62 cram schools. The combined income was about NT$2.65 billion last year.

The corps was asked on Wednesday to provide an estimate as soon as possible of the number of refund requests it would receive, Shih said.

“Committee members have reached an agreement to permit operations of the corps’ fitness, learning and youth activity centers, as long as they are deemed legal, to protect the rights of their many customers and employees,” Shih said.

As for people who have purchased fitness, learning, travel or other vouchers from the corps, Shih said they could rest assured that their rights would not be affected in the short run.

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