Sat, Nov 07, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Premier defiant on alleged felon links

FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE The premier said that he had never criticized the DPP for visits by its members to former president Chen Shui-bian, who is a convicted criminal

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Amid allegations over his relationship with a convicted double murderer and former Nantou County gang boss, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday said he would resign if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could provide any evidence of irregularities in their relationship.

The DPP candidate for next month’s Nantou County commissioner election, Lee Wen-chung (李文忠), has accused Wu of arranging the distribution of benefits from the local gravel trade and the election of a new Nantou County Council speaker and vice speaker during a trip to Bali, Indonesia, last December.

He alleges that Chiang Chin-liang (江欽良), a paroled convicted felon, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Nantou County Commissioner Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) also went on the trip.

“Lee said he had evidence. Please make the evidence public within three days and I will resign immediately,” Wu Den-yih said.

He added: “If not, [Lee] must apologize, otherwise I will bring a criminal action against Lee for slander and demand civil compensation to clarify the truth and defend my reputation.”

The DPP has continued to question the premier’s links to Chiang since local media on Wednesday reported Wu and his wife were caught on camera vacationing in Bali with Chiang and Lee Chao-ching.

Wu yesterday called a press conference to respond to the allegations after comments he made about not helping Chiang obtain special permission to meet Kuo Ping-hui (郭平輝), a gangster and the mastermind behind an infamous 2007 staged televised video threat, were undermined.

On Thursday, Wu Den-yih denied any involvement in the January meeting.

But Wu Cheng-po (吳正博), warden of the prison in Taichung where Kuo is incarcerated, told the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Thursday, that the face-to-face meeting between Chiang and Kuo was arranged by the premier in his then capacity as a lawmaker.

Saying that helping voters meet inmates was one of the services lawmakers often provide, Wu Den-yih added that such matters are usually taken care of by legislative assistants.

“I didn’t know anything about the meeting before [Thursday] ... but now I’ve discovered my local office helped Chiang, I won’t detach myself from that,” Wu Den-yih said.

Wu Den-yih said that he had spoken to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by telephone on Thursday night, adding that Ma had backed him over the matter.

“President Ma said that everyone makes mistakes and we should accept people who have erred as long as they know they are wrong. If they consistently fail to repent, they will be held legally responsible,” Wu Den-yih said.

He added that he had never criticized the DPP for visits by its members to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who had been sentenced over corruption charges.

In Nantou, Chiang said he had paid a huge debt for mistakes he made 20 years ago and even his wife knew nothing about his criminal record.

Chiang said he does not know Wu Den-yih very well. He said Wu was just a casual acquaintance and they occasionally ran into each other at activities in Nantou County.

Saying that he had been a supporter of the DPP, Chiang said he had helped former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in organizing activities and had met former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Meanwhile, the DPP continued to hammer the premier over his association with Chiang and said Wu should resign immediately because he had lost credibility.

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