ICRT’s Weekly Central Taiwan News Report, Feb 3–transcript

Plan to idle coal generators by 2035 passes

The Legislative Yuan has passed a DPP resolution to decommission Taichung Power Plant’s coal-fired generators by 2035, and to preserve the generators as a national security emergency reserve.
The plant’s owner, state-owned Taipower, had originally scheduled the decommissioning to be complete in 2046.
The highly partisan 68-0 vote was accompanied by KMT lawmakers chanting “too slow”.
The resolution was introduced by Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) of the DPP, and pushed by central Taiwan lawmakers.
Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen of the KMT won the Taichung mayoral race in 2018, largely by campaigning on this issue–and in recent years the KMT has championed this cause.
KMT and New Power Party proposals failed to pass.
KMT Chair Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who co-sponsored the draft, credited his party for pushing the DPP into retiring coal-fired generators earlier than the government had planned.
The Taichung Power Plant, until recently the largest coal-fired power plant in the world, is Taiwan’s largest stationary source of air pollution.

MRT Blue Line plans finalized by city

With the newly completed MRT Green Line in limbo due to mechanical failures, the Taichung City Government has completed planning for the Taichung MRT Blue Line and will submit the plan in March to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for approval.
The Blue Line is scheduled to be 24.8 kilometers long and host 20 stations.
Starting from Taichung Port in the west and running east along Taiwan Boulevard, it will connect with Shalu train station, Taichung City Hall, Taichung train station, and Taiwan Sugar Corporation’s biological park.
There are some changes from earlier released plans, including in the Central District running along Minquan Road instead of Taiwan Boulevard, and the biological park is a different ending point than the originally planned Gancheng.
There will also be a depot constructed in Longjing.
The Blue Line will intersect with the MRT Green Line at Taichung City Hall.
It will have eight elevated stations, moving to 12 underground stations starting at Guiji St. in Longjing all the way downtown to the end of the line.

Long overdue indictments over migrant worker exploitation

Four people involved in a labor brokerage firm in Taichung have been indicted by prosecutors for exploitation of migrant workers through wage manipulation.
The brokers also used other forms of exploitation by bringing 126 migrant workers from Vietnam into Taiwan using “shell” manufacturing companies and illegally dispatching them to work at government-funded construction sites.
Investigators discovered that the brokerage firm had told the workers that they would receive the minimum monthly wage of NT$23,800 plus overtime pay after arriving in Taiwan to work.
In reality, they collected NT$36,000-NT$42,000 per month for each worker from construction firms and then deducted about 50 percent of the wages before distributing the remainder to the workers.
It is estimated that the brokerage firm had made NT$25 million in illegal gains between July 2018 and August 2020.
The charges faced by the four–which included one Vietnamese translator–include forgery and violating the Employment Service Act and the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.

Bad day at the gym features violent brawl

Two groups of men violently clashed Monday evening at a privately-owned gym in Taichung’s Daya District, leaving one dead and six injured.
The dispute occurred when nine men arrived at the gym armed with air guns and knives.
14 people already in the gym picked up baseball bats, pool cues, and other weapons to mount a defence.
The attackers came out of the melee poorly, with three injured and one dying due to blunt trauma to the head.
Three people from the gym suffered multiple stab wounds, and two were placed in intensive care.
All of the suspects in the violence have been apprehended.
There are suspicions that the incident may be debt-related.

Quarantine breaker escapes fine

Taiwan’s quarantine breakers are famously strictly, and expensively fined as part of the government’s efforts to clamp down on the pandemic.
One man, however, had his NT$100,000 fine waived by the government after it was determined it wasn’t his fault.
The man returned from Hong Kong in October and began his quarantine at a friend’s home in Nantou.
However, in a statement released by Changhua Branch of the Ministry of Justice’s Administrative Enforcement Agency said they had confirmed the man’s story that he was abducted by debt collectors on Nov. 1, 2020, while undergoing his quarantine.
According to their statement, the debt collectors came across Chen when they were looking for his friend for payment.
He was physically assaulted before being taken to his home to get money to repay the debt.

Honest worker brings reward in apples

A member of the Taichung Nantun District Environmental Protection Bureau Cleanup Team was sorting through donated used clothes at the bureau’s collection site when he found red envelopes stuffed with NT$283,930 inside a bag of old clothes.
He immediately notified his supervisor, and the bureau contacted police to find the owner of the clothing and discovered that it was an elderly couple in their 70s.
The wife, a 72-year-old woman had put the spare money in the red envelopes to save for her daughter’s dowry and retirement.
When her husband was doing year-end cleaning, he packed up some old clothes and gave them to the cleaning team–failing to notice the red envelopes stuffed inside.
The grateful couple went to the police station and brought a large box of apples to express their gratitude to the resource recovery worker.

Photo by Matheus Cenali on Unsplash

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