The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would file lawsuits against a group of politicians over allegations that the party condoned a shooting last month.
Aimed at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, the lawsuits were the first court challenges to be filed following the incident, in which Sean Lien (連勝文), a KMT Central Committee member and son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), was shot on Nov. 26.
Reports said preliminary investigations show that the alleged shooter, Lin Cheng-wei (林正偉), mistook Sean Lien for local KMT politician Chen Hung-yuan (陳鴻源). The shooter was allegedly involved in a land dispute with Chen’s family.
DPP spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said it was “undeniable” that the party had nothing to do with the incident, despite claims to the contrary from KMT lawmakers on the night of the shooting.
“We condemn the lies that infer the DPP was connected to the shooting,” he told a press conference at which video footage of the comments made by KMT lawmakers was released. “It’s clear … that some people made [those remarks] to ... influence the election.”
Legal action could be filed in the coming days against KMT legislators Chiu Yi (邱毅), Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕), Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) and Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇). Lawsuits are expected to include charges of defamation, libel and possibly a charge of spreading rumors with the intent of influencing the elections.
The lawsuits come amid speculation that a sympathy vote likely cost the DPP victory in Greater Taichung, where it lost by only 2.2 percent. One lawmaker has advocated directly challenging the results.
“We should be encouraging [all three losing DPP candidates] to file challenges that invalidate the results,” DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said.
The party should look at taking legal action against several TV personalities, he said.
The remarks under scrutiny include a tirade by KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) on a TV talk show, in which, minutes after the incident, he accused DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of condoning the actions of the shooter, who Chiu said was a DPP supporter.
Video footage provided by the DPP showed Kuo and Wu telling a campaign rally in Taipei County that they wanted to see supporters condemn violence by voting for KMT candidates.
Separately, Lu told supporters in Greater Taichung the shooting was a political “dirty trick.”
“We hope that most folks can denounce the act of violence tomorrow by voting for [KMT Sinbei City mayoral candidate] Eric Chu (朱立倫) ... We must teach those who cause mischief a lesson,” Kuo said.
Lawyer Chang Tien-chin (張天欽) said the remarks likely constituted enough evidence to file charges.
The DPP said the main purpose of the lawsuit was to recover the party’s “tarnished image.”
Wu said the lawsuit did not worry him, adding that he had only called on voters to vote against violence rather than against the DPP.
“I did not imply in any way or accuse the DPP or anyone [of the shooting]. I didn’t describe [the shooting] as a political assassination [attempt],” Wu said.
Kuo said she was trying to calm KMT supporters down after the shooting.
Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said he did not oppose releasing video clips of the shooting, but would respect the decision by prosecutors on the matter.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang and Loa Iok-sin