Taiwan boy wins rights to tropical island in lottery

Thu Mar 5, 2009 3:54am EST
 
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TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - A 4-year-old boy has won the use of an uninhabited tropical island, with white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, in a Taiwan lottery aimed at boosting spending during an economic downturn.

Officials said Yeh Chien-wei, who won the prize at Thursday's draw, will get exclusive rights to the tiny plot in the Taiwan Strait from May through September.

Penghu County, an offshore archipelago, will provide food, drinks, water and electricity to the boy. He has been quoted in local media saying he wants to play in the sea.

"Penghu has a lot of islands, and that one has water and electricity, so someone can really enjoy it," said county economic promotion official Lu Yan-chang, explaining why use of the island, which also has a cabin, was offered as a prize.

Counties elsewhere in Taiwan have offered cars, houses and other prizes to encourage locals to spend consumer vouchers worth T$3,600 ($103) that the government gave to every citizen in January to encourage spending to help boost the sagging economy.

Penghu, which comprises 64 islands, is known for its beautiful beaches and water sports.

According to the terms of the prize, the boy and up to seven family members can visit the island five times, for trips that last a maximum of three days.

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings, editing by Miral Fahmy)