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Anti-gambling activists file complaint against county chief

2012/07/10 18:36:44

Taipei, July 10 (CNA) Members of an anti-gambling group filed a complaint with the Agency Against Corruption on Tuesday, accusing Lienchiang County Magistrate Yang Sui-sheng of violating the rules of administrative neutrality by publicly promoting gambling.

Ho Tsung-hsun, executive director of the Alliance Against the Legalization of Gambling, said that Yang wrote several newspaper articles in support of a proposal to build a casino resort on Matsu.

The articles were published in the run-up to a July 7 referendum on whether the project should be allowed, Ho said.

In addition, Yang also bought advertisements to promote the project and gave public speeches that encouraged Matsu residents to vote in favor of proposed casino, Ho said.

Yang's actions violated the rules of administrative neutrality that apply to public servants, Ho added. Lienchiang County government administers Matsu, an island group off the coast of China.

Matsu residents voted 1,795 to 1,341 in the referendum Saturday in favor of a proposal to build a casino resort on the island. The referendum was held based on the Offshore Islands Development Act, which allows casinos on Taiwan's outlying islands once the residents give approval by means of referendum.

Shih Chao-huei, convener of the anti-gambling alliance, said Tuesday she will launch a campaign in three years time to call for a referendum against gambling in Matsu.

"If we lose in Matsu, casinos will mushroom around Taiwan," she said.

Under the Referendum Act, a new referendum on the same issue cannot be proposed within three years of the promulgation of the results of the previous one, regardless of the outcome.

Although Matsu residents voted in favor of the casino project, there is still a long way to go before it can take effect since the central government has not yet legalized gambling in the country. .

(By Huang Yi-han, Wen Kuei-hsiang, Ho Meng-kuei and Elizabeth Hsu)
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