Postman faces prosecution for dumping mail down a cliff

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) A postman in Hualien County has admitted to getting rid of tens thousands of mail items over the past three years to reduce his workload, a prosecutor said Tuesday. The offense is punishable by confinement of up to 60 days and a fine of up to NT$90,000 (US$2,850), according to Hsu Chien-jung, a chief prosecutor at the Hualien District Prosecutors Office. The case came to light when people participating in a clean-up of the coastal Qingshui Cliff area -- a major tourist attraction in the eastern Taiwan county -- found a large quantity of unopened letters, magazines and other postal items dumped on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After an investigation by Chunghwa Post Co., a postman surnamed Hou turned himself in to prosecutors. Hou confessed he began dumping mail down the cliff three years ago, saying that he did so once every month on average, with several bagfuls of mail discarded each time. According to the prosecutor, people can seek compensation from the postal company if they can prove that they are victims of the incident. (By Lee Shien-feng and Y.F. Low)