Alexa

Miaoli rejects report of 'red-light district' in their midst

Miaoli rejects report of 'red-light district' in their midst

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) The Miaoli County Police Bureau said nightclubs located in an area of Toufen Township described by a media report as a red-light district had legal licenses and were regularly checked by police. The bureau was responding to a Chinese-language Apple Daily report, which said the Houzhuang area had effectively become a 50,000-ping (165,250-square-meter) red-light district occupied by nightclubs, KTVs and pubs that offer sex, along with illegal game arcades. According to the report, local police authorities tolerate the existence of the establishments -- which generally have bar hostesses to drink with guests -- without conducting regular checks on them. The director of the county police bureau's Toufen branch, Chen Chia-ming, called the report "untrue," and said, "our colleagues are doing the best they can (to clamp down on the establishments)." He said ongoing efforts to control the area had lowered the number of "nightclubs" and game arcades in the area from 60 in 2000 to 18 in 2011, with those remaining all properly licensed. Based on the bureau's July-October records, Chen said police officers had conducted 125 checks of the "nightclubs" and game arcades in the area during the period. As for whether Miaoli County would consider setting up a designated red-light district as allowed under a new law that took effect Sunday, Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung said, "Miaoli is a rustic and simple place. We won't consider the idea." Under the new law, local governments can decide whether to set up special districts for the sex trade within their constituencies. Any sexual transactions outside these zones will result in a fine of up to NT$30,000 (US$1,000) for both the sex providers and their customers, which would put anybody engaging in the sex trade in places like Houzhuang at risk of being fined. Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said the government would strengthen awareness of the new measure in the three months after it took effect, but he made it clear that those found violating the law would not be given a grace period. First-time violators will be fined up to NT$6,000, second-time violators will face a maximum fine of NT$12,000, and third-time violators, a fine of up to NT$30,000, he explained. The penalty will apply to sex providers and their patrons, he stressed. (By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Ann Chen)