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By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter
Environmental groups yesterday urged the government to order Advanced
Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE) to immediately stop operations following its
discharge of toxic wastewater and amend the law to enforce heavier punishments
in such cases.
The Greater Kaohsiung Government announced on Monday that the company’s K7 plant
was found to be illegally discharging large amounts of untreated industrial
wastewater containing nickel and highly acidic, toxic substances into the nearby
Houjin River (後勁溪).
In addition to imposing the maximum fine of NT$600,000 (US$20,209) for violating
the Water Pollution Control Act (水污染防治法), the local Environmental Protection
Bureau said it would order the plant to stop operations. The Environmental
Protection Administration added the plant should pay for its “illegal gains.”
However, environmental groups were not satisfied with these punishments and
yesterday called on the government to do more to deal with the case.
The Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) said the Ministry of Economic
Affairs should order ASE to stop operations immediately at the plant and force
it to tackle water and land pollution in the area.
“We ask government officials to take a tough stance with the company because the
taxes we pay are supposed to help government officials monitor these companies
and ensure that they only discharge wastewater that conforms to our regulations,
so that the public will be protected,” TEPU secretary-general Andy Tung (董建宏)
The company has received tax incentives from the government, but it is still
polluting the land, Huang said.
He called for a comprehensive review of environmental protection measures at all
industrial areas nationwide and cancelation of tax incentives if they are found
to be violating environmental laws.
Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan (CET) executive director Lee Ken-cheng (李根政) said
that the firm must compensate the farmers and clean up the environment if it is
responsible for contaminating nearby farmland.
The CET also suggested that the government amend the Water Pollution Control Act
to impose heavier punishments for those who break the law.
Separately yesterday, ASE executive vice president Lin Hsien-tang (林顯堂) was
released on NT$5 million bail after being questioned for six hours, and Su Ping-shou
(蘇炳碩), head of ASE’s K7 plant in Kaohsiung, was taken into custody early
yesterday morning after being questioned overnight, prosecutors said.
The K7 plant, which employs 5,000 workers, is part of a complex of ASE factories
in Greater Kaohsiung.
It generates monthly revenues of about US$75 million which amount to more than
30 percent of ASE Kaohsiung’s total sales per month, according to the ASE group.
Additional reporting by CNA