Thu, Mar 29, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Lawmaker assaults colleague

ROUGH POLITICS An independent legislator known to resort to violence in the legislature attacked PFP lawmaker Diane Lee yesterday

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

PFP legislator Diane Lee shows bruises on her forehead and forearm after being assaulted yesterday by independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu. Lee was hospitalized yesterday afternoon and said she suffered a minor concussion in the attack.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

An independent lawmaker with a reputation for fist fighting and close links to organized crime struck a female colleague and grabbed her hair yesterday during a committee meeting, sending the woman to the hospital with minor injuries.

PFP lawmaker Diane Lee (李慶安) is expected to file a suit today against her attacker, Lo Fu-chu (羅福助).

Earlier this month Lo was sentenced by the Taipei District Court to 59 days detention for his part in a 1998 brawl at the legislature.

"This is not only a harm to myself, but also humiliating to the legislature and Taiwan's democracy," Lee said. "Lawmakers shouldn't be subject to any threat of violence when carrying out their duties."

Lo apologized yesterday for setting what he called "a bad example" for society. His apology came eight hours after the incident -- which was filmed in detail by a video camera installed in the legislature and was broadcast repeatedly almost all day long on TV news.

Before the footage was located and broadcast, Lo had maintained that he "never touched" Lee.

"Verbal conflicts and even physical clashes are a mistaken example. I hereby extend my deepest apology to the public," Lo said.

Still, Lo sought to blame his victim for the attack, saying Lee incited the incident when she suggested that he was a gangster.

On Monday, during a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee, Lee intimated that Lo had attempted to interfere in the selection process of board members for the Jin Wen Institute of Technology (景文技術學院).

Words turn into blows

Yesterday's fight broke out at roughly 9am when the committee was about to meet again.

According to Lee, Lo approached her and furiously asked, "What did you say in the committee? Did you call me a gangster?"

Though she denied calling Lo a gangster, Lee said, the independent lawmaker was not convinced and spat out an obscenity at her.

The video footage shows an angry Lee standing up to Lo, a cup of water at the ready to pour on her irate colleague. But Lo was quicker, and he snatched the cup from Lee and threw it against a wall behind her.

Lee's assistant, observing the quickly escalating tensions, attempted to come to Lee's rescue with a stack of documents.

Lo moved in on Lee and was also joined by an assistant of his own, who grabbed Lee's assistant from behind.

As Lee attempted to help her assistant, Lo hit her on her back. As the clash continued, Lo pulled Lee by her hair before three other legislators intervened to break up the mismatched fight.

Lee was hospitalized at National Taiwan University Hospital yesterday afternoon with symptoms of a slight concussion and was listed in stable condition.

Lee reportedly suffered bruises to her back, neck, right shoulder and right thumb and had scratches on her forehead and left arm.

Violent record

Lo is one of several legislators known to resort to fisticuffs in disputes with colleagues.

On March 2, Lo was sentenced to 59 days of detention by the Taipei District Court for assaulting DPP legislator Yu Jan-daw (余政道) during a legislative rumble involving several lawmakers on June 15, 1998.

The sentence, however, can be substituted with the payment of a fine.

Most of Lo's victims have been from the DPP, including incumbent legislators Chien Hsi-chieh, Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲) and Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), and former legislator Huang Chao-hui (黃昭輝), according to DPP statistics.

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