Sat, Oct 06, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Lawmaker squares off against DPP

PREPARING FOR BATTLE Five legislators announced that they are teaming up in an effort to defeat the notorious Lo Fu-chu, saying that if he wins a third term, it will pose enormous difficulties for the Ministry of Justice

By Crystal Hsu and Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Lo Fu-chu lashes out at the DPP in his office yesterday.

PHOTO: LU CHUN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Adding fuel to the spat over the Finance Committee, gangster-turned-independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu (羅福助) yesterday accused the ruling DPP of waging a smear campaign against him to divert public attention from the parlous state of the economy.

Meanwhile, five DPP legislative candidates urged voters to boycott Lo, the self-styled "spiritual leader" of the Tiendaomeng gang, who is expected to seek a third term in Taipei City's southern district and vowed to remove him from the legislature.

"The entire controversy is a set-up," Lo told reporters in his office at the legislature. "I unwittingly fell into a trap, just as they wished."

Lo, who was banned in April from the legislature for assaulting a female colleague, said that the DPP had deliberately picked a fight with him, hoping to turn public attention away from the slumping economy.

"That explains why the DPP has created a fuss over who should head the Finance Committee," Lo said.

He said that otherwise, the election last week of his lawmaker son, Lo Ming-tsai (羅明才), would no longer be an issue.

"That explains why DPP lawmaker Tsai Ming-shian (蔡明憲) has called several news conferences to urge a boycott of Lo Ming-tsai," the elder Lo said.

"He is seeking publicity to boost his showing in the election for Taichung mayor."

It is the third time in two weeks that Lo has appeared in the legislature, though his six-month ban will not expire until Oct. 12. The controversial lawmaker said that by appearing in the legislature, he aimed to stand up to his foes.

He said that "a bunch of rats," fellow lawmakers, had turned the legislature into a circus in his absence.

To restore order, Lo said, he was considering setting up a "rat-busting squad" and disclosing the names of the top 10 villains in each session.

On Wednesday, he threatened to expose the dirty secrets of his colleagues from different parties if they failed to treat his son fairly.

At stake are his and his son's honor and prestige, rather than illicit interests as critics have suggested, the elder Lo contended.

A cross-party negotiation put the ball back in the court of the Finance Committee, which had earlier asked the legislature to decide the matter during its full session.

DPP legislative leader Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) suggested that the finance panel re-elect all of its three conveners next week.

But KMT caucus leader Lee Cheng-chong (李正宗) said the KMT preferred the status quo but would consider replacing Lo Ming-tsai with Chen Chieh-ju (陳傑儒), if necessary.

With half of the committee seats under its control, the KMT caucus would try to take two of the three leading berths, Lee added.

Places on the committee, responsible for overseeing the Ministry of Finance and state-owned banks, are among the most hotly contested. A convener is charged with setting the agenda for the committee.

Also yesterday, five DPP legislative candidates -- led by sitting lawmaker Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) -- vowed to thwart Lo's re-election bid in their constituency.

Lo, who was originally elected from the Taipei County constituency, has decided to transfer to the Taipei City south constituency in the election, where the five DPP politicians are running as a team.

The team of five, consisting of Shen, Taipei City councilors Chou Po-ya (周柏雅), Lan Mei-chin (藍美津) and Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) and political analyst Julian Kuo (郭正亮), have described themselves as "tigers" with a mission to tame the unruly legislature.

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