Prosecutor criticized for remarks on Muslims at Taipei Railway Station

By Annie Yang, Special to The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A prosecutor’s Internet comments complaining about the gathering of foreign workers at Taipei Railway Station has drawn criticism from netizens who claim it is a form of racism. Prosecutor Huang Chao-gui (黃朝貴), of the Tainan Branch of the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, posted a message on Sunday stating that the over 30,000 Islamic workers who had clustered at Taipei Railway Station to celebrate the end of Ramadan had inconvenienced local residents. He said the government must do something about the issue to prevent further chaos. Aug. 12 was the first Sunday after the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Taipei Railway Station, the busiest train station in the country with over half a million passengers per day, was inundated with Islamic workers observing the special day. They gathered in the station’s lobby with various foods and beverages, the United Daily News reported, adding that the number of workers in attendance was around 30,000. “Some were eating, some were sleeping, while others were having a picnic, ” Huang said in his Facebook post.

“If the government does not handle this properly as soon as possible it is going to damage the city’s image,” said Huang. His comments aroused heated discussions among netizens, with some saying they were a form of discrimination.

The prosecutor asserted that he was not discriminating against foreign workers but rather showing concern for passenger convenience as the station is a major hub in Taiwan’s transportation system. He also argued that the foreign workers had affected passengers’ rights.

During celebrations last year for Ramadan, tens of thousands of foreign workers moved into Taipei Main Station’s lobby as there was heavy rainfall. This led to complaints among passengers.

According to a survey from the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training, workers from Indonesia, a country with a largely Muslim population, account for almost 43 percent of foreign workers in Taiwan.