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Prosecutors Office vows to crack down on food hoarding

TAIPEI -- The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office vowed yesterday to harshly crack down on anyone caught hoarding food staples as part of the government's efforts to stabilize food prices amid a string of price hikes following the Lunar New Year.

The office said it has started collecting evidence by monitoring prices of major consumer products. Anyone found to have engaged in hoarding will be severely punished to the fullest extent of the law, it said.

Those guilty of illegal activities such as hoarding daily necessities, manipulating food supplies or product prices could be sentenced to jail terms of up to five years or fines of up to NT$3,000 (US$100).

Yen Da-ho, chief prosecutor of the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, said the office will first target upstream and midstream businesses.

Local prosecutors offices across the country have since before the Lunar New Year been cracking down on the stockpiling of food, he said, adding that a national ad hoc meeting will be held to monitor food prices nationwide.

President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Wu Den-yih have both expressed grave concern over rising prices for basic food prices.

Wu called the food price issue a “national security issue” earlier that same day in a weekly Cabinet meeting, and demanded that all agencies keep a close eye on the food price situation.

February 18, 2011    jhnone@
If the US government wasn’t using tax dollars to bribe itself and subsidize (inefficient) conversion of corn food stock into ethanol for fuel, there would be a lot more food on the world market.
And no, I don't accept that spending $2.12 on ethanol to make the same BTUs as $1 of gasoline is somehow wise.
February 18, 2011    shannonlove@
I don't know how things are going in Taiwan right now but historically whenever governments have gone after businesses for "hoarding" or "price gouging" they are usually trying to deflect blame away failed government policies by placing the blame on the supposed "greed" of business people.

In reality, most businesses that deal with basic foodstuffs are so low margin that they simply don't have the money to "hoard" significant amounts food. Very, very rarely in history has anyone ever demonstrated significant hoarding by businesses.
February 22, 2011    jackson.tj39@
During a political crisis it is wise to do just the opposite of what the government orders you to do. This is a perfect example. Remember, the future belongs to the prepared!
June 7, 2011    difdi@
The truly scary thing, is how do you define a hoarder? To someone who shops every day or two, someone who shops weekly might look like a hoarder. To that weekly shopper, someone who goes on one big shopping trip per month might appear to be hoarding. I have an emergency kit for disasters in my closet; In the event of a severe earthquake, I have enough "food" (in quotes due to the highly compact and artificial nature of lifeboat rations) to last me six months...am I a hoarder, even though all of my food would fit inside a photocopier paper box?
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