Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen demands apology from Ma

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Taipei Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁) yesterday demanded an apology from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his defense counsel Song Yao-ming (宋耀明) for alleging that Hou had purposefully mistranscribed a witness' statements in Ma's corruption trial.

"I was born to defend justice," Huo told reporters at the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office's Special Investigation Section. "[Ma and Song] humiliated me and I think I deserve an apology from them."

"If they do not offer an apology, I will consider hiring a lawyer to file a suit against them," Hou added.

Ma and Song have also alleged that Hou was biased and asked leading questions when interviewing witness Wu Li-ju (吳麗洳), a Taipei City Government treasurer.

Hou was one of the lead prosecutors in Ma's corruption case, in which Ma was accused of misappropriating NT$11 million (US$333,000) from his special mayoral allowance during his eight-year tenure as Taipei mayor.

The court on Tuesday decided that special allowances do not constitute public funds, and hence found Ma not guilty.

Prosecutors are still deciding whether or not to appeal the verdict.

Ma said yesterday that he was the victim and there was nothing for him to apologize about.

"Apologize? It's strange, because I am the victim here," Ma said in Tainan County, adding that the court's decision to make the recording of the testimony public was the right one.

This had allowed the public to hear the truth, he said.

When asked if he wanted Hou to apologize to him for distorting the testimony, Ma said he wanted nothing but for the court to clear his name.

In related news, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers condemned the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for trying to pressure Hou not to appeal Ma's case.

The DPP lawmakers were referring to a visit made by a group of KMT lawmakers to State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) yesterday morning.

KMT caucus whip Tseng Yuan-chuan (曾永權), who led the group, said they had simply asked Chen to establish uniform standards for prosecutors to investigate allegations of corruption involving government officials.

The KMT lawmakers also demanded that Chen exclude Hou from participating in the discussion on whether to appeal Ma's case.

Chen told reporters that Hou shouldn't be kept out of the discussion because he was one of the lead prosecutors on the case. He added that Hou should be given a chance to respond to the accusations made by Ma and Song.

DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (謝欣霓) told the press that the KMT lawmakers had visited Chen because they were concerned that Ma would be found guilty in a second trial.

"The KMT should give prosecutors more room to consider wether to appeal the case or not," DPP Legislator Kao Chien-chih (高建智) said.

The KMT lawmakers plan to visit Control Yuan Secretary-General Fan Kuang-chun (范光群) this morning to discuss the special allowance issue.

Additonal reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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