Taipei City officials order ‘Villa 32’ well to be sealed
MND denies new security breach allegation
Taipei City officials issued documents detailing water usage violations to owners of “Villa 32” yesterday, following complaints from area residents.
Officials stated that while operators of the resort had obtained permits to use white and blue sulfur hot spring water from the Taipei Water Department (
), they did not obtain legal permits to dig wells.
According to the Taipei City Government Department of Economic Development ( ), violations to Article 32 of the “Hot Springs Act” ( ) will result in fines of NT$50,000. The city has given operators of the villa until 5 p.m. on Saturday to seal the well.
Well Used Only for Scenic
Purposes: ‘Villa 32’
The CEO of “Villa 32” Liu Minan ( ) said that the well in question was used for scenic decoration only, and not as a source of hot spring water. Responding to the city’s orders, Liu replied that when the villa was being constructed initially, the well opening was small and was not used for hot spring water. He said he had not received written documentation from the city, but would take appropriate action within three days.
Increased Scrutiny over Illegal
Following allegations of building code violations of “Villa 32” involving illegal improvements, officials from Taipei City’s Construction Management Office (
) arrived at the premises of the property to investigate the matter.
The section leader of the investigative group reported that “Villa 32” had three areas of illegal improvements dating back to 2005, totaling 67 ping (approximately 221 square meters). Yesterday’s investigations listed an additional 56 ping ( approximately 184.8 square meters) of the first and third floors of the structure to be illegal constructions. Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (
), who threatened to demolish the villa Wednesday if it violated building codes, resolved swift action on the matter and other cases concerning illegal building improvements. Ko said that the
The Ministry of National Defense said Thursday that an alleged irregularity at an Army base in Taichung five years ago did not amount to a security breach because the base was open to visitors at the time.
The ministry was responding to allegations by Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-yuan (
), who said Wednesday that an incident similar to the recent one involving a military helicopter pilot had occurred in 2010 at a Taichung base, where AH1W attack helicopters were stationed.
Lee said a high ranking officer in the Army 10th Corps had taken his friends, including government officials and private sector executives, to the base to see an AH1W helicopter, the most advanced weapon of its kind in Taiwan’s armed forces at the time.
That was a breach of security by the Army’s 602nd Aviation Brigade, Lee said, displaying a photo that he said showed the visitors on the military base.
Base Open Day
But Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he (
) said at a news conference city’s failure to dismantle illegal improvements was a reflection of government “impotence.”
” Because these structures aren’t dismantled, the government has no credit with the people. This must be tackled,” he added.
Operators of “Villa 32” have 20 days to comply with existing building codes. CEO Liu said that the management would remove the illegal additions, and said plans were in place to make the property comply completely with building regulations. He also indicated that customers affected during the building renovation period would be refunded. He also denied allegations that the proprietors pressured city councilors to prevent earlier dismantling of the villa’s illegal improvements.
”Villa 32” ( ) is a Beitou based resort run by the family of Lieutenant Colonel Lao Naicheng’s ( ) wife Chiu Ya- Thursday that there was no violation of military security because the visitors were at the base on an open day.
He said Lee’s photo showed a “group of visitors posing in front of a helicopter, and a pilot sitting in the cockpit.”
Thursday’s allegations followed scandals involving an Army pilot who gave his friends and relatives access to the country’s most advanced attack helicopter, the AH-64E Apache, in violation of military regulations.
Lt. Col. Lao Nai-cheng ( ), a pilot in the Army’s 601st Aviation Brigade, was found to have brought the group of people, including TV hostess Janet Lee (
), her relatives and friends, to see the Apaches at their base in Longtan on March 29 without approval from his superiors.
Some of the visitors even boarded an Apache to take photos. The case came to light after Lee posted four photos of the tour on her Facebook page, including one of her in the chopper’s cockpit. It was also found that Lao had not returned an Apache flight helmet after a training mission last October, but rather had worn it as part of a Halloween costume at a party at his home, according ching ( ). Lao is currently at the center of an unfolding military scandal involving unauthor- to a Defense Ministry investigation.
Lao has since been removed from his post as deputy head of a helicopter squadron in Taoyuan under the Army Aviation Special Forces Command, while the head of the Army Aviation Special Forces Command has also been removed and other high-level officers, including Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yen De-fa ( ) and Army Commander Gen. Chiu Kuo-cheng ( ), have been penalized.
At Thursday’s press conference, Luo also addressed local media reports that another pilot in the 601st Aviation Brigade had taken visitors to the Taoyuan base on March 29.
Video at a Night Club
Luo said there was no security breach in that case because the pilot had obtained the necessary permission to take the visitors there.
Meanwhile, he said, Lao is considering taking legal action over the circulation on the Internet of a video purporting to show him engaged in inappropriate behavior at a night club. Lao has said that the person in the video is not him, according to Luo. ized tours of an Apache helicopter of the Army Special Forces (
) 601st Brigade.
Taipei City officials take pictures of “Villa 32” yesterday in Xin Beitou. The building is suspected of violating existing regulations on the usage of hot spring water. Personnel from the city’s Construction Management Office were unable to enter the building.