Keelung residents and politicians have been debating the future of an ammunition depot in the city, after a blast there injured nine soldiers on Monday.
Nine soldiers were injured, two seriously, after a 120mm mortar round exploded by accident during an inspection on Monday afternoon at the depot at the Hsiang Feng Military Base administered by the Sixth Army Command.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Keelung City Councilor Lu Mei-ling (呂美玲), who represents the district, suggested relocating the depot to Yilan County or New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里).
Photo: Lu Hsien-hsiu, Taipei Times
Lu headed to Hsiang Feng Market, accompanied by a crew from CTi TV News, to hear residents’ opinions and a conversation she had with a local businessman spread online.
Lu spoke with local businessman Lai Wen-chung (賴文中), who grew up in the area and had served in the army.
Lai is also the owner of a ship repair company and an equipment supplier for marine transport vessels.
Photo: Photo: Lu Hsien-hsiu, Taipei Times
Relocation is for the best, because “if the Chinese military starts firing, they will hit us here first,” Lu said.
“We have mountains, so it is not easy to hit here,” Lai said in response. “The depot is our protective shield, and Keelung now has no other place to relocate it to.”
“The depot must stay, because we must fight against communist China,” he said. “We cannot allow them to invade our country.”
“Why do you want to have war?” Lu asked in response. “Just like the US and Ukraine, why do they want to fight a war?”
“It is not us... It is China that wants to wage war against us,” Lai said, to which Lu replied that local people are in effect asking for China to attack.
“You are asking for it... If the Chinese military had plans to attack Taiwan, they would have done it earlier... If this happens, are you going to fight on the front line?” Lu asked.
“Sure, I will go fight against the Chinese communist troops,” Lai said. “If our nation wants me, I will enlist.”
“Is this city councilor a Chinese spy?” an online user commented on the video.
“Is Lu not aware that the military base and its depot were established by a past KMT government?” another user posted.
“Lu is stating the KMT’s main refrain, that when China threatens with military invasion, it is because of provocations by Taiwan,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said in an online post.
The Ministry of National Defense in a news release yesterday said that the Hsiang Feng Military Base is important to the defense of northern Taiwan to supply munitions and weapons to troops in Keelung, Taipei and New Taipei City.
“Since 2009, the mandate has been issued to have ammunition storage at a safe distance from civilian housing as a safety precaution,” the release said.
Additional reporting by Wu Su-wei
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
CHINA illness surge: Of 88 travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau with respiratory symptoms who were encouraged to get tested upon arrival, 70.6% had the flu Two hundred and sixty people with COVID-19 were hospitalized and 31 deaths related to the virus were reported last week — the highest numbers in four weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that cases are expected to peak next month. CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said that of the 260 people hospitalized last week with moderate to severe COVID-19, 98 percent had not received the Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted COVID-19 vaccine. Among the people hospitalized this year, 78 percent were aged 65 or older, while most of the those who were hospitalized or died have or had
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she