TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following investigations by Taipei City Police Department over the past month, a significant number of stalls in Shilin Night Market (台北士林夜市) have been issued fines for failing to meet legal preconditions.
Multiple stories have hit headlines in recent years about foreign visitors being overcharged at pre-cut fruit stalls. Last month, after a foreign national complained to police about being charged NT$400 for a bag of diced fruit, a special inspection unit was assembled to investigate what has become a widespread issue throughout night markets in Taiwan.
A total of 44 fines were issued to stall owners in January, including 42 by Taipei Police and another two by the Department of Environmental Protection, collectively amounting to NT$52,800, UDN reports. Two stalls have ceased business since the inspection was completed.
The Taipei City Market Administrative Office revealed out of 834 stalls that faced inspection between January 2018 and 2019, 87 were not adhering to the “four questions” policy for selling fruit. Prior to a transaction, merchants should ensure customers know the price of an individual unit, then the weight of their purchase, how it is to be packaged, and finally whether they would like it to be diced or not.
In addition, 144 stalls had violated traffic management regulations resulting in NT$172,800 worth of fines, three violated waste disposal regulations resulting in NT$3,600 worth of fines, and 237 were requested to improve sanitation conditions by the Department of Health.
The Market Administrative Office also discovered that the market price of fruit at Shilin Night Market is being heavily distorted.
Analysis conducted in January revealed that while the wholesale price of a single wax-apple was NT$10.8, and the average market price was $NT17.5, vendors at Shilin Night Market were selling the fruit at an average of NT$40 per unit. This is while the cost of operating a market stall averages at less than NT$3 per sale, UDN reports.
The Department of Legal Affairs said to stop price inflation becoming the norm, to prevent potential customer disputes, and to uphold Shilin Night Market’s image, it will continue to work with the other city government departments as part of the special inspection unit.