Taichung hit with another transport snafu
Taichung’s new policy of restricting the 10 kilometer free policy on buses to local citizens hit the streets on January 1, only to immediately run into trouble.
Under the new policy, cash cards must be registered to qualify, and over 1 million Taichung citizens have already done so.
However, some discovered that they were being charged for their bus trips.
According to the transportation department, after investigation they discovered that not all of the card readers on all buses have been upgraded to handle the new system.
The city will seek compensation from the contractor, as well as refund those improperly charged.
Central Taiwan governments continue to fight racto-pork
All three KMT-led central Taiwan governments are continuing to resist the importation of pork from the US containing traces of ractopamine, in spite of the central government stating that their authority overrules that of local administrations.
Taichung, Changhua and Nantou have laws on the books banning the substance from pork, and all three are continuing to send out inspectors city-wide to conduct checks.
While local governments have signage available certifying that local shops and restaurants serve ractopamine-free pork, Nantou County Commissioner Lin Ming-chen said he isn’t ruling out putting up signage explicitly saying “this shop sells ractopamine” to any that dare sell it.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen said her government will not comply with the central government’s overruling local laws, stating that “Taichung will insist on protecting the people’s health,” and “I’m sorry, in Taichung, we can’t do it” to allowing the pork sales.
There is also talk of a potential legal challenge, with the Taichung Legal Affairs Bureau Director-General stating that Constitutional Interpretation No. 738 gives local governments the right to make “reasonable adjustments” related to central government regulations based on the specific needs of each city and county.
On a lighter note, health inspectors visited a restaurant demanding to know “what pork are your using, and do you have your signage?”…in a vegetarian restaurant.
Mayor will comply over weiya dinners
Mayor Lu will be complying with instructions from the central government against holding large-scale weiya dinners.
She said she supported the government’s anti-pandemic measures, and there was still work to be done by the city and there is a need to continue to strive in the effort against the coronavirus.
She emphasized, however, that the traditional annual feast for employees will not be cancelled but rather postponed.
Changhua man sentenced for spying
Changhua County-based Fu-Mei Scissors and Tools Manufacturing Co-chairman Huang Chiung-tun (黃炯墩) has been sentenced to a three-month prison term for spying for China.
However, the sentence can be commuted to a NT$90,000 fine.
He was recruited to arrange meetings with Taiwanese government and military personnel, with the goal of helping collect information on Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party and Falun Gong.
He tried to recruit a retired Ministry of Justice investigator, a retired Major General and a Taiwanese National Security Bureau official, but was rebuffed by all of them.
The court ruled Huang’s spying activities did not leak any significant information to China, and he did not recruit any other Taiwanese to work for China
He can still appeal the ruling.
Ill-treatment of food delivery person causes online storm
The internet exploded in Taichung when video surfaced on Facebook showing an employee of a duck specialty restaurant in the Beitun District ignore a Food Panda driver for nearly 20 minutes before launching into an expletive-laden verbal assault against her and threatening to physically assault her after she complained about the restaurant’s slow service.
After finally receiving her order and delivering it, she went to the police and showed them the video, who followed up by questioning the shop manager who launched the tirade.
They then transferred the case to the Taichung District Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation.
Outraged netizens bombarded the restaurant with insults and one-star reviews, prompting the restaurant to close for a couple of days.
The manager of the shop has taken personal leave because of the incident and reportedly fears for his safety and does not dare venture out outside his home.
Food Panda, the driver’s employer, cut ties with the restaurant and said they supported her legal action.
However, netizens were again outraged when the restaurant then showed up on UberEATS,and nearly 10,000 one star reviews suddenly went missing, restoring the restaurant to a 4.8.
Sign of missing hiker found
A man in his 50s who went on a single-day mountain climbing trip on the border of Taichung City and Nantou County with a hiking group has been missing since Dec. 26.
He wandered away from the group, and then messaged them he was lost.
The group waited for him at the trailhead until late into the night, then reported him missing the next day.
Search and rescue teams searching for the man found two separate stone arrangements forming the letters “SOS” and the last character of his name on the side of the river valley.
They theorize he left the messages, and has been attempting to trace the river out of the mountains.
He hasn’t yet been found.
The search is on for a wounded bear cub
After local in Taichung’s mountainous Heping District captured footage of a bear cub running with what appeared to be two broken legs, teams have been searching the mountains to try and find it.
They also set out trap cages with fruit as bait.
They hope to get the endangered bear medical treatment.
They have cautioned the public, if they spot the bear, not to try and capture it themselves, but instead call Taichung’s 1999 hotline.
There are concerns the bear’s mother could pose a danger to the public if they attempt to approach the cub.