Ministry to crack down on anybody driving up prices

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - Page 3

The Ministry of Justice yesterday said it would begin a crackdown on businesses and individuals that drive up the prices of goods after Typhoon Morakot caused major damage to the south of the country.

Yesterday morning, Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) met with the ministry’s three deputy ministers, State Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) and other top prosecutors and department heads to discuss ways to help the country recover from effects of the typhoon.

The ministry said it would mobilize all district prosecutors’ offices to make the processing of missing persons files and maintaining of death tolls a high priority, as well as instructing prosecutors and investigators to look into whether businesses or individuals had driven up the prices of goods or committed fraud by taking advantage of recovery efforts following the typhoon, Deputy Minister of Justice Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) said.

The ministry said it would also investigate whether public officials were liable for substandard public construction projects that led to the erosion of foundations and destruction of bridges and roads, as well as probe for corruption that may have taken place.

Wang also encouraged ministry officials to participate in a “one-day donation” program, where ministry officials contribute a day’s salary to the relief efforts. The ministry estimated the program would be able to contribute about NT$35 million (US$1 million) to the relief effort.

The Association for Protection of Victims of Crime is to provide NT$6,000 a month for three months to each family member of victims of crime that have been affected by the typhoon. Victims in poverty or who are unable to work to support themselves may also apply to the association for more assistance.