Is this what they mean by 'carrot-and-stick policy?' - A Taiwanese man has been detained for hoarding lots of carrots. Authorities said they viewed it as a bid to manipulate prices amid a shortage of vegetables.
Acting on a tip, investigators in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung found cartons of domestically grown carrots stacked floor to ceiling in a cold-storage warehouse. The raid came as authorities were probing fruit and vegetable prices, which had remained high since back-to-back typhoons battered the country earlier this year.
The alleged hoarder, surnamed Chiang, was taken into custody after investigators found 300 tons of carrots, but he was later released on bail, according to prosecutors in the Ciaotou district.
The suspect said that since February, he had been purchasing carrots from the Tainan region, with his "collection" at one point reaching a staggering 1,500 tons.
Just a normal vendor?
Chiang insisted he had been selling the carrots daily and that his total comprised 15 percent of market share in southern Taiwan, but that he had had no hoarding intentions.
Investigators disagreed, indicating that portions of the carrots found had rotted and that failure to dispose of them earlier or sell them earlier pointed to hoarding in a bid to manipulate market prices.
Local authorities said they would continue to look into whether other operators were also attempting to drive up prices or monopolize the market.
The island's agricultural council said it had ordered farmers' groups to increase imports of fruit and vegetables and release more supplies into the market to help stabilize prices.
hg/jd (AFP, China Post)