Number of illegal structures in Taiwan hits record high

As of the end of August, there were 660,694 illegal structures around Taiwan, a record high, according to government statistics released on Friday.

The number accounted for 8 percent of the 8.25 million residential properties in Taiwan, meaning that eight in every 100 homes have made illegal additions to their original structures, the Ministry of the Interior's Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) said.

The latest figure represents an increase of more than 20 percent on the 546,000 illegal structures reported in 2011, the agency said.

By region, New Taipei has the largest number of illegal structures with 206,691 or 13.6 percent of the total number of residential properties in the city, according to the the CPA.

In second place was Kaohsiung with 122,148 illegal structures.

Of the four remaining special municipalities, Taipei had 85,104, Taichung 70,894, Taoyuan 54,506 and Tainan 26,888 illegal structures.

Safety issues concerning illegal structures have drawn widespread attention since a residential building with five illegally added floors in Hsinchu City caught fire last December leaving two people dead.

To address the problem, the CPA has drafted an amendment to the Building Act that would impose a fine of up to NT$500,000 on homeowners who fail to have their illegal structures demolished within a designated period of time.

The draft will be forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for review after it is approved by the Cabinet, the CPA said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel