E. Taiwan county revokes licenses for poultry farm project by Thailand's CP Group

CP to take legal action, file claims for compensation

Protests against a plan by Thai conglomerate CP for poultry farms in Hualien 

Protests against a plan by Thai conglomerate CP for poultry farms in Hualien  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Responding to public protests, the Hualien County Government announced Tuesday (June 23) that it was revoking the licenses for six poultry farms it had already awarded to CP Group, one of Thailand's largest conglomerates.

The company had lost the trust of the public and of the county government and had not shown any evidence of wanting to reach a consensus with residents, Hualien County Magistrate Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚) told a news conference Tuesday.

She added that investors were still welcome in the sparsely populated east coast region, but on the condition they "respect the land" and propose mutually beneficial projects, CNA reported.

Any investor in the county should cooperate with the local population and do more than just build factories, Hsu said. However, CP had shown no interest in such proceedings, even sending a letter to a local action group on June 11 to turn down a request for a public hearing, which was in contradiction of an earlier promise of talks, according to the county chief.

CP reacted to the decision by saying it would take legal steps, including a demand for compensation, since it had completely followed legal procedures in obtaining the licenses for the farms, the Liberty Times reported.

Residents of the townships of Fenglin, Guangfu and Shoufeng had protested against the environmental pollution expected from the poultry farms. A total of 375,000 chickens would have been housed at the farms, which is more than the 325,000 people who live in all of Hualien County, the protesters pointed out, expressing concern about the impact of air and water pollution and of increased traffic on their communities.

The company, also known as Charoen Pokphand, is one of Thailand's largest corporations, operating 7-Eleven convenience stores in the Southeast Asian country as well as the True telecom system. This year, CP is also in the process of taking over one of Thailand's two largest supermarket chains, Tesco Lotus, following British retailer Tesco's decision to pull out of Asia.