Mon, Dec 18, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Presidential Office probes allegations

LATE NIGHT GATHERINGS?A presidential aide was among DPP members who allegedly visited a Taipei guesthouse late at night, along with women working as escorts

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Jan-daw yesterday holds up what he said was evidence at a press conference to prove his innocence after a newspaper alleged that Yu and other DPP officials were accompanied by young women working as escorts while attending late-night gatherings at a Taipei guesthouse.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The Presidential Office yesterday said that it had launched an inquiry into allegations that one of its officials visited a Taipei guesthouse and that the guesthouse's owner had won a project contract with the office.

The action came in response to a front-page story in the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday, which claimed that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) and Yu Jan-daw (余政道), DPP Taipei City councilor-elect Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) and presidential aide Kuo Wen-pin (郭文彬) had attended separate late-night gatherings at the guesthouse, located on Hsinsheng S Road, Sec. 1, over the past month.

The newspaper said that young women working as escorts had also been invited to the gatherings at the guesthouse.

The newspaper ran pictures of Gao, Yu and Lee each leaving the guesthouse alone before dawn while a series of four pictures showed Kuo giving one woman a ride.

Another picture showed a young woman in the arms of man in a white Mercedes around midnight, but the man was not identified.

A message from the Presidential Office yesterday said that its internal affairs department had launched an investigation into the allegations.

Regarding the allegation that the guesthouse's owner won a project contract with the Presidential Office, the office said its understanding was that everything had been handled in accordance with the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法).

Yu told a press conference yesterday that he had been to the guesthouse five to six times, but he did not do anything illegal there.

Yu said guesthouse owner Tsai Ming-chieh (蔡銘杰) was a friend of his and he only went to the guesthouse to consult his friend.

"I always left as soon as I got the answers to my questions," he said, adding that the only people at those meetings were himself and Tsai.

Yu said he could only speak for himself and he had no idea what the situation was with others named by the newspaper.

Gao's cellphone was turned off yesterday morning, but he told reporters yesterday afternoon that he only went to the guesthouse to raise campaign funds for DPP Taipei City councilor candidates.

"I can't say that I have never been to places I should not have been to, but I can say I've never done things I shouldn't have done," Gao said.

He said there had not been any escorts when he was at Tsai's guesthouse.

When asked for a response to the story, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said Tsai Ming-chieh was a supporter of the party.

Tsai Huang-liang questioned the authenticity of the newspaper's pictures, as none of them showed the four men and the women together.

While saying that he believed Gao and Yu cherished their reputations, he said the party would investigate the allegations. He refused to say whether anyone would be disciplined if the allegations were found to be true.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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