Fri, Sep 22, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Suspected gangster elected to judicial committee

CONTROVERSIAL CHOICE Independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu, who allegedly has links with the underworld, is threatening to make a mockery of the legal system

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lo Fu-chu, who was yesterday elected as a convener of the legislature's Judicial Committee.

PHOTO: LU CHUN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Suspected gangster and independent legislator Lo Fu-chu (羅福助) was elected yesterday as one of three conveners of the legislature's Judicial Committee (司法委員會), despite widespread protests.

Lo received the support of KMT legislators.

In addition, Lo's son, KMT lawmaker Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), was elected convener of the legislature's Finance Committee (財政委員會), along with KMT legislator Gary Wang (王令麟).

The younger Lo was once accused by lawmakers of coercing bankers into giving him loans, while Wang is currently charged with illegally pocketing NT$400 million in a shady land deal.

The legislature's committees are made up of 21 members, including three conveners. One member from the KMT and DPP act as convener, along with one independent.

The committees meet once a week and the position of convener alternates among the three. The convener's role is to take turns chairing the meeting and coordinating the agenda for the following week's meeting.

Lo Fu-chu is allegedly connected to Tiendaomeng (天道盟), an organized crime group, raising doubts as to the appropriateness of his membership on the Judicial Committee.

"I cannot bear to see the president of the Judicial Yuan Weng Yueh-sheng (翁岳生) and Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) taking a bow before [Lo] when they attend the committee," said DPP legislator Tsai Ming-shian (蔡明憲), explaining his opposition to Lo's election at a press conference yesterday. Tsai told "Big Brother Lo to keep his hands off the committee and not to trample on judicial dignity."

Tsai added that legislators who have been indicted or convicted on criminal charges should not run for convener of the Judicial Committee. He also said that former Minister of Justice Liao Cheng-hao (廖正豪) refused to attend meetings of the Judicial Committee two years ago because he had to bow before Lo, who was a member of the committee at the time.

Bowing before fellow committee members is a ritual practiced under local governmental protocol when making reports or presentations.

In response to Tsai's remarks, Lo yesterday angrily threatened to file libel suits against the lawmaker and blamed the media for discrediting him.

"I did not steal my post as legislator and the media are not being fair with me. How could you all treat me like a mafioso without evidence?" Lo said, lashing out at reporters at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Defending his father, Lo Ming-tsai blamed other legislators and the media for tarnishing his father's name. In addition, the younger Lo asked prominent local Buddhist leader the Venerable Sheng-yen (聖嚴法師) for advice on the controversy at a luncheon at the legislature yesterday.

Sheng-yen, in response, urged Lo Ming-tsai to ignore the criticism of others. The spiritual leader advised legislators, including both Los, to engage in introspection, saying: "As long as you think you are doing the right thing, you shouldn't care too much about what other people think of you."

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