Following an online threat earlier this week to kill President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) two daughters, police yesterday investigated another Internet threat that called for the assassination of the president.
The second online threat appeared on Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) Plurk account on Friday and was posted by a plurk user nicknamed “super_fans.”
The user “super_fans” left messages on Hau’s Plurk page at about 11am on Friday, calling on “people with lofty ideas” to kill Ma, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).
“I call on people with lofty ideas around the world to kill Ma Ying-jeou the American,” the Plurker said, adding that such a call should be protected as freedom of expression.
According to the profile information provided by “super_fans,” he is a 49-year-old male.
Plurk.com is a popular online social networking service.
Plurker “super_fans” also cited examples of how people who threatened to assassinate former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) were found not guilty in court to support his argument that making such a call comes under freedom of expression.
He was referring to a case in 2006 in which an army honor guard named Chu Chao-kang (屈肇康) posted a message in an Internet chatroom saying that he wanted to harm Chen. He was later detained by the military, but prosecutors in Pingtung released him, saying he should not be found guilty for posting personal opinions online.
Taipei City Government Spokesman Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) said the city government informed the Presidential Office about the online threat on Friday night. Taipei City’s Police Department was looking into the identity of “super_fans,” she said.
Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said the Presidential Office would handle the issue according to the law and urged online users to express their opinions rationally.
Hau also posted a message on his own Plurk account condemning “super_fans.”
“Some recent remarks by Plurkers have gone beyond the boundary of ‘mutual respect,’” Hau said in the message. “Plurkers may have different views on political issues, and may disagree and debate with each other, these are all normal in a democracy. However, attacks, violence or abuse will not be tolerated.”
Other Plurkers reacted differently to the incident, with many saying Internet users should refrain from using such extreme language, while others argued that it was a freedom of speech issue.
On Thursday, the man who posted an online message threatening to kill Ma’s daughters — Lesley Ma (馬唯中) and Kelly Ma (馬元中) — was released on NT$50,000 bail after police questioned him for more than one hour.
The man, surnamed Chen, told police during questioning that he had made the threat because he was dissatisfied with the state of affairs in Taiwan.