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  • 民眾不急,急死政客——賭博合法化,將訴諸「全民公投」 (刊於弘誓雙月刊第67期)

 民眾不急,急死政客——賭博合法化,將訴諸「全民公投」

釋昭慧

       澎湖縣政府在公投法還未經由總統公告的情況下,為了迴避公投法的限制而匆忙上路,於十二月二十七日舉行了所謂的「諮詢性博弈公投」,這十足顯示政客不但目無法紀,而且其促賭心態,已到了何等病態的焦慮程度!相對於此,澎湖民眾對「博弈公投」的反應,則顯得相當冷漠,投票率只有百分之二十一。有的投票者被動員到現場時,竟還問道:為何選票上沒有總統候選人的大名。

       說來諷刺,賭場設不設置,民眾不急,急死政客;澎湖人漠不關心,關心的人大部分都與賭博事業有利益關係。澎湖政客運用大把民脂民膏,玩了一場自導自演的公投戲碼,而且意圖以此要脅中央政府,讓他們搜刮更多的民脂民膏以自肥。民眾在無可奈何之餘,只能保持冷眼旁觀的態度,作無言的抗議。

       至今澎湖尚未開賭,但四月間已有建商湯紹宏其人,因在澎湖當地先投資,購買大筆土地,等著開發賭場,被索取鉅額賭場投資開發佣金不成,被綁至台北縣深坑鄉山區遭凌虐致死。此一凶殺案只是政客促賭的冰山一角,顯示個中尚有諸多不可告人之密,檢調單位想必會予以注意。

       部分政客罔顧廉恥,公然與利益團體唱和,並且數年來不斷透過立法院、地方議會與縣政府三面夾擊,向中央政府施壓。在無計可施的情況下,近時方以不合法、不合理的民調與公投,製造「主流民意贊成賭博合法化」的錯覺。他們甚至咬文嚼字,硬是要將「賭博」這檔子事,搽脂抹粉而命名為「博弈」,意圖矇騙選民,來鬆懈其對「公然聚賭」的羞恥感,這可見其心虛到了什麼程度。本次澎湖公投結果,應已粉碎了「主流民意」的謊言,然而這些政客在公投結果出現後的談話顯示,他們還是會繼續使用三面夾擊術來死纏爛打,不達目的,決不罷休。

       澎湖縣是否開放觀光賭場,這可說是一項重大的公共政策,不但對澎湖民眾,而且對全國人民都將造成鉅大衝擊。原因是:

       一、離島開賭,趨前豪賭的,或是因此而染上賭癮,致令身敗名裂、家破人亡的,多半是本島民眾。因此賭博即使只開放於某一特區,其所造成之治安公害,以及政治、經濟、教育、文化等各方面的衝擊,都勢必會強烈影響全國廣大民眾。賭場之所在,即是黑金之所在,更是無辜者拋灑血淚的源頭。

       二、澎湖設若依「博弈公投」而開賭,則金、馬等離島乃至本島各市縣必將跟進,此後的骨牌效應,將使得合法賭場從離島蔓延到本島,使得台灣成了不折不扣的「賭博共和國」(The Republic of Casino)。

       基於以上兩點,觀光賭場是否可以設置,就已不是地方自治事項,政客倘必欲促賭,一定得訴諸全民公投。而且在公投之前,必須先經過正反雙方充分的討論與宣導,讓民眾理解,離島設置觀光賭場,對全國人民即將產生的影響。

       吾人並非一味訴諸「超高道德水準」的「清教徒」,而是在政、經、教育、治安、人性各方因素的考量下,正視賭場開放所帶來的重重弊端。也因此,反賭博合法化聯盟一向主張將此一議題訴諸公民論壇。早在今年一月十日,冷見部分立委向中央政府施壓促賭時,「吃相」實在太過難看,吾人乃呼籲促賭政客(以及學界一、二位專門製造假數據以矇騙民眾的賭場大亨代言人)站在陽光底下,與反賭陣營作理性的公開辯論,以供人民作明智之選擇。但是他們受到公正第三者「Taiwan News總合周刊」的公開辯論邀請函之後,卻個個腳底抹油,溜之乎也。顯見促賭政客何等心虛,不敢將此一議題攤在陽光底下,與反賭博合法化的各界人士作理性的公開辯論,卻意圖透過權謀技倆以少數運作,霸王硬上弓地強迫全民買單。

       本次針對澎湖賭博公投,有記者問筆者:我們是否會主動發起對應性的全民公投?筆者的回答是,開不開放賭場,急的是政客,而不是民眾。我們將好整以暇,以逸待勞。依於刑法,賭博尚未除罪化,我們何必主動訴諸公投?然而一旦政客在行政或立法部門,將賭博片面予以除罪化(例如:開放觀光賭場、開放賭馬賭狗等),屆時我們必定會充分運用即將公告的公投法,將此一議題訴諸全民公投。在此先行警告促賭政客,千萬不宜有茍且僥倖,先說先贏的心理,以免諸位的賭業投資,血本無歸!

 

        九二、十二、二八 于尊悔樓

        ——刊於九十二年十二月三十日《自由時報》「自由廣場」

        本文英文版業經英文報Taipei Times英譯並刊載於2004年1月12日“Taipei Times”


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        【附錄】本文英譯

        Gambling harbors horrible secrets

        Translated by Perry Svensson
        To avoid restrictions in the Referendum Law (公民投票法), which still hasn't been promulgated by the president, the Penghu County government hurried to hold a consultative referendum on “ playing games” on December 27. This is clear evidence that politicians have no regard for the law. Their promotion of gambling has already reached pathologically worrying levels. By comparison, Penghu residents seem to have been fairly cold towards this gambling referendum, with a turnout of only 21 percent. After arriving at the polling stations, some voters even asked why the names of the presidential candidates weren't on the ballot.

        It is ironic that while voters are not in a great rush to introduce gambling, politicians are. Penghu residents are totally unconcerned, and most of those concerned have interests in the gambling industry. Penghu politicians have used the public's hard earned money to set up a referendum play which politicians are both directing and acting in. They also try to use it to threaten the central government and gather even more of the people's hard earned money in order to fatten themselves. The helpless public can do nothing but stand by and watch, and protest through their silence.

        Gambling in Penghu has as of yet not begun, but in April, the builder Tang Shao-hung (湯紹宏), who had invested large sums of money in local land on which to build casinos, was kidnapped and taken to the mountain area in Shenkeng where he was killed after being unable to pay huge commissions on those investments. This murder is just the tip of the iceberg, and it shows that there still are many unspeakable secrets that are certain to interest prosecutors.

        In disregard of honesty and honor, some politicians publicly cooperate with vested interests, and have for several years used the Legislative Yuan, local councils and county governments to put pressure on the central government. At their wits' end, they have lately resorted to illegal and unreasonable public opinion polls and referendums to create the illusion that mainstream public opinion approves of the legalization of gambling. They even mince words and insist on euphemistically calling “gambling” for “playing games” in an attempt at duping voters and easing feelings of shame attached to public gambling, showing us to what levels their hypocrisy has soared. The results of the Penghu referendum have already crushed any “mainstream opinion” lies, but the statements made by politicians following the publication of the referendum results show that they will continue their abusive three-pronged approach, and that they will not rest until they have achieved their goal.

        The question of whether Penghu County should be opened up for gambling is a major public policy isssue that will have a major impact not only on Penghu residents, but on all Taiwanese. There are two reasons for this.

        First, with the opening up of offshore gambling, most of the people who will make large bets or become addicted, destroy their reputations and have their homes broken up will be residents of Taiwan proper. Even if only a special zone is opened up for gambling, the harm to public order, and the political, economic, educational and cultural impact created will have a powerful impact on the nation at large. Where there are casinos, there is illegal money, and that is also a source of blood and tears of innocent people.

        Second, if Penghu opens up for gambling based on the referendum on “playing games”, then Kinmen and Matsu offshore, as well as cities and counties on Taiwan island, will follow. This domino effect will cause legal casinos to spread from the offshore islands to Taiwan proper, making Taiwan a fullfledged Casino Republic.

        Based on these two points, the question of whether to establish casinos for tourists is no longer a matter of local autonomy. If politicians necessarily want to promote gambling, they have to refer it to a national referendum. What's more, prior to such a referendum, they must fully discuss and promote the pros and cons, and make the public understand that the establishment of tourist casinos on the offshore islands will affect the whole country.

        I am certainly no puritan asking for superior moral standards, but I do look with an unaverted gaze on the corrupt practices that gambling will bring, based on the consideration of political, economic, educational, social order and human nature factors. This is also the reason why the alliance against the legalization of gambling has always advocated that this issue should be resolved in public fora. On January 10 this year, as I with cold eyes watched a few greedy legislators put pressure on the central government to promote gambling, I called for the politicians promoting gambling (as well as one or two academics who specialize in cooking up data to dupe the public and enjoy great benefits from speaking in favor of gambling) to meet the gambling opponents in rational public debate to allow the public to make an informed choice. After receiving an invitation for public debate from a neutral third party, Taiwan News, however, they developed a bad case of cold feet. This is clear evidence of the guilt         felt by the politicians who promote gambling. They are afraid to bring this issue out in the open for rational debate with those opposed to the legalization of gambling. Instead, they attempt to use tricks and minority manipulations to force public acceptance.

        With reference to the Penghu gambling referendum, a journalist asked me whether we would initiate a corresponding national referendum. My reply was that it was politicians, not the public, who were in a rush to set up casinos. We must remain calm, and not act rashly. According to criminal law, gambling is not yet decriminalized, so why would we have to resort to a referendum? Once the politicians in the Cabinet or the Legislative Yuan unilaterally decriminalize gambling (eg, opening up gambling for tourists or gambling on horse or dog racing), we are sure to make full use of the soon-to-be-promulgated Referendum Law, and refer this topic to a national referendum. To avoid having the gambling industry lose all their investments, I warn those promoting gambling not to think that they will get by easily and win just because they first broached the topic.

 
 


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