Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Let Peng be a lesson

By Roger Cheng

As the recent sex scandal of a Taiwanese variety-show host unfolds, it's time for all of us in Taiwan to take a closer look at the local showbiz scene that has long been controlled by notorious gangsters.

We clearly see a love-hate relationship between high-profile entertainers and pistol-wielding gang members. Financial and contractual disputes between artists and their agents are negotiated and solved by some of the most sought-after "big brothers" who are well-connected with the police and the business community.

But the sword not only defends, it kills. Gangsters never maintain sincere relations with any superstar or showbiz bigwigs. They are, of course, 100 percent money-oriented while, as the old Chinese saying goes, "the bad guys are in the dark and good guys are in the light."

Peng Chia-chia (澎洽洽), who is widely viewed as one of the most influential and respected stars in the industry, knew the ancient adage so well that, instead of dialing 110, he resorted to privately paying a reported cover-up ransom of NT$90 million (US$2.7 million) for a sex video which includes scenes of masturbation and lovemaking with a B-list actress, according to tabloid reports. Threatened by many of the most infamous members of Taiwan's gang circle, the helpless, depressed Peng needed clout from lawmakers and other connections to get him out of trouble.

But the trouble hasn't gone away. Now it's now snowballing into a career crisis for Peng as more people are being investigated by the police.

This ambiguous relationship between multimillionaire TV celebrities and hardened gangsters in Taiwan is not going to disappear anytime soon. But as the Peng scandal develops, everyone should keep in mind that greed and lust can ultimately turn catastrophic.

Roger Cheng

Taipei

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