Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) said yesterday that Chou Chan-chun (周占春), a Taipei District Court judge who upheld the release of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) without bail on Wednesday last week, should be replaced.
At a press conference, Chang said Chou should refrain from presiding over cases involving the former president because some of Chou’s remarks in response to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) special allowance case were inappropriate.
The Taiwan High Court on April 24 found Ma not guilty of misusing his special allowance during his eight-year tenure as Taipei mayor.
Chang was responding to a story in yesterday’s Chinese-language United Daily News that quoted KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) as saying that Chou previously told his colleagues that he would have sentenced Ma to 10 years in prison in the special affairs fund case if he had presided over Ma’s trial.
The story cited Chou as saying that he had expressed opinions regarding Ma’s case, but that he had never made the remarks attributed to him by Chiu Yi.
The story also quoted Chiu as saying that Chou urged his colleagues to vote for Chen during the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004. Chiu did not present any evidence to back his claims.
Chou has drawn harsh criticism from the KMT after a district court panel that included Chou ruled on Dec. 13 and again on Dec. 18 that Chen would not be detained.
Chen and 13 other people were indicted on Dec. 12 on charges of embezzlement, bribe taking and money laundering.
KMT lawmakers accused Chou of bias.
“[Chou] helping Chen with the elections shows that Chou was fond of Chen and might be a fan,” KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said.
KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) called Chou’s performance on Dec. 13 and Dec. 18 “ridiculous,” saying that the replacement of Chou would be “the best Christmas gift for everyone.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Investigation Panel (SIP) yesterday said it would appeal the district court’s decision to release Chen for a second time with the Taiwan High Court today with a request that the high court itself decide whether or not to detain Chen.
State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) told reporters yesterday that the SIP hoped the Taiwan High Court would make the ruling itself and not return the case to the district court.
The SIP said if the high court returned the case to Chou, it stood little chance of making him change his mind.
In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday it would fully cooperate with the judiciary after former deputy minister Michael Kao (高英茂) was slapped with a travel ban on Monday over his suspected role in a US$500,000 embezzlement case involving Chen and former National Security Council head Chiou-I-jen (邱義仁).
“We do not comment on pending legal cases. We respect the law and will fully cooperate with investigators,” MOFA Spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said.
Kao, who recently stepped down as representative to the EU for health reasons following bypass surgery, was questioned by the Special Investigation Panel last Thursday about the An-ya Project, in which Chiou is suspected of pocketing US$500,000.
The project was signed off under former foreign minister Eugene Chien (簡又新) and Mark Chen’s (陳唐山) watch during the Democratic Progressive Party administration.