Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Politicians condemn talk show fight

UNRULY BEHAVIOR The premier called on Shih Ming-teh and Ma Ying-jeou to ensure that the upcoming anti-Chen protest would not turn into a similar violent show of force

By Shih Hsiu-chuan, Mo Yan-chih and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS , WITH AGENCIES

Leaders across party lines yesterday condemned a former lawmaker for physically attacking a political commentator during a live TV news talk show on Thursday night.

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), a guest on a live TV talk show, slapped and kicked another commentator, Contemporary Monthly magazine editor Chin Heng-wei (金恆煒), during a debate on whether President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should quit over allegations of corruption.

The fight was repeatedly broadcast yesterday on local cable TV channels.

The fight started after Chin interrupted Lin on The People Talk program on Formosa TV on Thursday night. Annoyed, Lin responded by slapping and kicking Chin.

Lin, who quit the DPP in 1990, is a strong supporter of the campaign led by former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) asking the president to step down.

The fight on Thursday night compelled the program's moderator to suspend the live talk show broadcast. When it resumed Lin apologized for disturbing the show, but threatened that ``if Chin Heng-wei does not change his behavior, I will hit him again.''

TV footage showed Chin leaving the studio with his nose bleeding. Chen received emergency treatment at a hospital, including five stitches to his nose.

"This [Lin attacking Chin] is absurd and unacceptable," Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. "I have asked related law enforcement offices to investigate the incident. No acts of violence like this should be tolerated,"

Su urged Shih and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to make sure that no violence will occur in the planned sit-in protest in Taipei.

"Since [the Taipei City Government] approved the request, they are responsible for ensuring that it will be a peaceful activity and that everything will be under control," Su said.

Ma, who also doubles as chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), yesterday condemned the violence and promised that as Taipei mayor, he would not allow any kind of violence during the upcoming anti-Chen protest.

"We will not tolerate any kind of violence during the street demonstration," Ma said.

"Everyone hopes that President Chen will step down, but this goal should never be pursued through violent means," the Taipei mayor said.

DPP city councilors, however, blamed the mayor for rousing political sentiment by donating NT$100 to the sit-in protest initiated by Shih.

"[The incident] is a result of your donation, and your approval of the protest to be staged 24 hours has turned Taipei into a killing field," DPP City Councilor Lee Wen-ying (李文英) told Ma yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Taipei City Hall.

"What's my donation have to do with the incident? ... A million people donated the money, how can you blame me alone?" Ma fired back at Lee.

DPP City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) called Ma "incompetent" for approving a round-the-clock sit-in for a month and denounced him for personally supporting Shih's campaign with his donation.

"I didn't ask Lin to beat Chin up when I donated the money," Ma said.

A group of DPP lawmakers called on Shih to call off his anti-president campaign to avoid potential conflicts. They also urged Ma to rescind the permission allowing a round-the-clock protest.

"Lin's beating of Chin was not just about Lin himself. Behind Lin are Wang Lan (王蘭) and `The Angel.' I don't think Shih can control the strength of the anti-Bian [Chen's nickname] movement," said DPP Legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅), referring to the gangster's participation.

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