One more reason Ko may prove a revolutionary mayor in Taipei. He is actually insisting that laws be followed, and also that fines have teeth, and the city have the power to enforce its own decisions.
We all know this is one of the major problems in Taiwan: weak enforcement, laws and fines that are perfunctory, and an environment in which companies and individuals look for creative ways to circumvent regulations rather than comply.
Some of these thigns are brain dead ridiculous. I used to live across from a hectare of fields on the edge of Taipei and my neighbors constantly burned organic material. In fall there would be large bonfires all day long. I called the EPA multiple times, and to their credit they always investigated. But the also could not do much as unless the caught the farmers actually lighting the fire they couldn’t fine them. Simply having a fire on one’s property isn’t enough. The farmers knew this and would always say that they didn’t know it was there, or there were rushing to put it out.
Absurd but that it Taiwan. Even the most basic safety and health regulations can’t be enforced. They merely exist.
[quote]At a meeting on public safety issues, Ko reacted strongly to a report by the joint inspection task force that found 12 unlicensed bars in Zhongshan District (中山) are still open. Ko said he was angry and demanded to know who he could “yell at” over the issue.
Office of Commerce Deputy Director Chiang Mei-ling (江美玲) said that there are loopholes in licensing regulations that make it difficult to shut down illegal businesses.
“The regulations are not strict, creating a situation whereby illegal operations can continually change their legal ownership,” she said.
Municipal regulations require the operators of businesses within the so called “eight major industries” where there are concerns about gambling or prostitution — such as KTVs, bars and dance halls — to undergo additional reviews and receive special licensing to operate.
Chiang said some businesses attempt to get around regulations by registering as restaurants, which are not subject to the same review and licensing requirements, adding that 56 such cases had recently been discovered.
While the city can impose fines of up to NT$100,000 on businesses found to be breaking the rules, it lacks the power to force them to close by cutting off their electricity and water, she said.
Establishments can avoid being shut down by continually changing their ownership, effectively “resetting the clock” for fines, she said.
The city has little discretion to approve documents changing the legal identity of an establishment, she said, adding: “As long as [a business owner’s] documents are in order, we are obligated to allow them to register.”
She said the office is drafting a new set of regulations for approval by the city council and central government that would allow utilities to be cut off and fines imposed on a specific address irrespective of its registered ownership.[/quote]