Detention Center closes, site to transform into park showcasing Japanese-era shrine

The Hsinchu Detention Center has officially closed, with the site expected to reopen as a historical park featuring Shinto shrine next month

Hsinchu Detention Center building

Hsinchu Detention Center building (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Hsinchu Detention Center (新竹收容所) for illegal migrants transferred its last seven occupants on Oct. 24, officially closing the site.

The site located in North District of Hsinchu City (新竹市北區) is expected to be reopened next month as a historic site and public park, showcasing a 78 year-old Japanese shrine.

The site of the Hsinchu Detention Center was developed in 1940 as a Shinto shrine during the Japanese period, and was transformed into a detention center during Taiwan’s economic boom.

The detention center was primarily used to house Chinese smugglers and economic migrants from the region during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Recent times have seen illegal migration decrease, limiting the usefulness of the site, according to Liberty Times.

Lin Chih-chien (林智堅), Mayor of Hsinchu City said the site is filled with significant trees and monuments, adding that in the future, it will become a public park with a new mission and role within the community, reported Liberty Times.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Hsinchu City (新竹市文化局) said the site occupies an area of around five hectares and is mostly parkland. It is largely owned by the government, administered by numerous government agencies, and hosts a range of historical sites including the shrine, pavilion, and numerous halls.

The shine requires some restoration, and the Ministry of Culture (文化部) had earlier this year completed a plan to restore the site. It is hoped that restoration of the shrine will begin soon, and Mayor Lin said that he is in consultation with the national government about funding to support the project, reported United Daily News.

The last seven inmates were transferred to a new facility in Kaohsiung, which is reported to formally open next month, reports said.