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May 29, 2017

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Report exposes 4,000 unsafe rental rooms near science park

Up to 4,000 apartment units at 250 buildings located next to the Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park were built without proper construction permits, a local media report said yesterday.

Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park is considered by some as "the silicon valley of Taiwan," and up to 132,000 people work at 500 companies in the area.

In order to capture the market for residences, local real estate developers have been building illegal units without meeting all safety standards, the Apply Daily newspaper reported yesterday.

The paper said that additional apartment units were built upon three-, four- or five-floor apartments. As a result, they were transformed into nine-floor apartment buildings. The apartment units are usually 7 to 9 ping in area, and were mostly rented to engineers employed at the science park. Because the apartments do not meet fire safety standards, a fire would have catastrophic consequences for the buildings.

Records from the Department of Public Works of the Hsinchu City Government show that of the 110 unlawful building units on record over the past 3 years, only 9 have been torn down, or 3 per year. According to the city administrator, the government has only NT$2.1 million budget per year to implement demolition, which is utterly insufficient.

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