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Kaohsiung official accused in purported maritime link to China

2019/06/26 18:12:17

A launch ceremony of a new purported maritime route (photo from

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) A Kaohsiung city councilor lodged a complaint Wednesday against the city's Tourism Bureau Director Pan Heng-hsu (潘恆旭) after he attended the launch of a new purported maritime route between the southern Taiwan City and Wenzhou in China a day earlier.

City Councilor Lin Chih-hung (林智鴻) of the Democratic Progressive Party filed a complaint with the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office against Pan and Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), the owner of the shipping company that is allegedly set to operate the route, after they attended a ceremony marking the "launch" of the route Tuesday in Kaohsiung's Qijin District.

The two men should be investigated for alleged violations of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, Lin said.

Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau Director Pan Heng-hsu

Moreover, Qijin is not open for direct shipping links to China unlike the offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu. Despite these issues, Pan Heng-hsu still attended the ceremony, Lin said.

Lin's comments came after Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said on Facebook Tuesday that the maritime route has not been approved by the central government and the shipping company applied to be dissolved two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the Maritime and Port Bureau said the shipping company involved has not applied for a permit to operate any such route.

Kaohsiung City Government later distanced itself from the launch, saying that Pan attended the event as a private citizen.

Pan said Wednesday on Facebook that neither he nor the city government played any role in the launch ceremony, adding it was an error of judgment on his part to attend the event without first making sure he was fully briefed on related matters.

Pan said he would not attend similar events in the future.

He also apologized for the controversy surrounding the supposed shipping route and the effect the controversy has had on the city government, adding that he applied for one-hour personal leave to attend the event Tuesday.

However, Lin said that as a city official, Pan represents the city government at public events, adding that the role of Kaohsiung city government should be further investigated.

The shipping company said it would not conduct a trial run on the route on Wednesday as originally planned before filing an application to operate the route.

(By Wang Shwu-fen and Evelyn Kao)