Tue, Jan 04, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Legislator assaulted by colleagues

GANGSTERISM Violence in the legislature is seen as highlighting the difficulty Lien Chan faces in fulfilling his promise to end gangster involvement in politics

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Independent legislator Lo Fu-chu attacks DPP legislator Chien Hsi-chieh during a session of the Legislative Yuan's Finance Committee yesterday, demanding Chien apologize for calling him a gangster.


Just one day after Vice President Lien Chan (連戰) vowed an end to "gangster" involvement in politics, violence broke out in the Legislative Yuan between lawmakers -- some of whom are alleged to have ties with organized crime. Opposition lawmakers said that this violence will backlash, causing the party to lose public confidence.

During a meeting of the Finance Committee yesterday to examine the National Security Foundation Act, Chien Shih-chieh, a DPP lawmaker, was set upon by KMT lawmaker Lin Ming-yi (林明義) and independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu (羅福助). The reason they gave for this was anger over accusations made by Chien that they were involved in illegal activities and manipulation of Legislative Yuan procedures.

Initially, Chien and Lin were merely engaged in verbal sparring over these accusations, after which many lawmakers left the room. Chien then requested the chairman call for order. It was at this moment that Lin approached Chien and accused him of disrupting the meeting. Lin then grabbed Chien by the neck and the two wrestled amid efforts by other lawmakers to separate them. Lo also joined in the melee.

After the groups had been separated, Lin and Lo demanded that Chien apologize for what they said were his groundless accusations against them.

When Chien left the room, Lin and Lo pursued him. The incident up to this point had been recorded live by TV cameras and broadcast nationwide.

What the cameras did not show, however, was what occurred after the three left the conference room. According to Chien, Lin punched him on the chin. Both Lin and Lo deny this.

Yesterday's violence follows a series of news conferences and public hearings held by Chien in which he has accused several lawmakers of being members of what he describes as the "grey faction" -- that is, that they stand somewhere between "white" corrupt officials and "black" gangsters, and who have tried to manipulate politics in the Legislative Yuan by using intimidation tactics to push through revisions of laws for the benefit of the KMT.

Chien accused both Lin and Lo of being members of this "grey faction" and of having engaged in illegal land speculation and in pushing through the so-called "Gambling Article," which passed during the last legislative session.

After the fight in the Legislative Yuan, Lo stressed that Chien had no evidence to prove his accusations. He said that Chien had only sought to discredit them to benefit his own political career.

"Chien was just talking too freely and has lied to the public. We cannot accept his insults," Lo said.

In the light of Vice President Lien Chan's promises to end gangster involvement in politics, the DPP's legislative caucus immediately condemned the KMT, saying it is "two faced," pledging to reform Taiwan's politics on the one hand while conniving with party members to use violence in the legislature as an intimidatory tactic.

"The formal declaration of war against money politics and gang-sters by Lien Chan on Sunday was merely `bullshit' (放屁)," said Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), a DPP caucus leader.

"The KMT has vowed to eliminate gangsters, but on the other hand it allows members of the legislature to use force publicly on the floor of the Legislative Yuan," he added.

Chien said that what Lin and Lo did to him was evidence enough to prove they were members of the "grey faction."

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