Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Legislative Yuan tapped by SID: Ker

UNDER FIRE:Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming apologized for ‘causing social disturbance’ by using wiretapping amid growing cross-party condemnation

By Chris Wang, Mo Yan-chih, Rich Chang, Su Yung-yao and Jack Chu  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A woman makes a phone call in this picture taken yesterday. It has been reported that the Special Investigation Division has been wiretapping the legislature’s switchboard.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday accused the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) of wiretapping the Legislative Yuan.

The legislature’s central exchange number, along with Ker’s cellphone number, were found on lists of tapped telephone lines.

All inbound and outbound telephone calls to the Legislative Yuan have been wiretapped, Ker said.

“The SID has abused its authority and wiretapped so many people... [the SID] knew what I said to [DPP Chairman] Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), [former DPP chairperson] Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and [People First Party Chairman] James Soong (宋楚瑜). No wonder we lost the presidential election in 2012,” Ker said.

He accused the SID of wiretapping his telephone conversations for more than five years, and said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had resorted to using secret agents to help govern the country.

Serious flaws have already been found in wiretap approvals used for Ker that were all listed under a case involving former Tainan County Council speaker Wu Chien-pao (吳健保), who, according to Ker, was not connected to him or the legislature.

The approvals showed that Ker’s telephone was tapped between May 16 and Sept. 9 this year during an investigation of his possible role in improper lobbying, which also involved Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

The SID and Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘)have attracted condemnation across party lines for the wiretapping.

DPP lawmaker Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said Ker’s telephones had been tapped for four extra days because the SID wrapped up investigation of the case on Sept. 5.

The SID has not only placed telephone numbers of unrelated cases under a single wiretapping ticket, but has also unilaterally extended wiretapping periods, DPP legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said.

The approval showed that the legislature’s central exchange number was wiretapped for around a month, but a letter notifying Ker of the end of the wiretap, as required by law, showed the exchange was tapped for nearly four months.

At a press conference last night, Huang apologized for “causing social disturbance” with wiretapping, but denied it had been intentional.

The SID was neither aware that the telephone number was the Legislative Yuan’s central exchange number nor did it understand that it was wiretapping the legislature at the time, Huang said.

Huang added that the agency authorized by the SID to carry out the wiretaps was unable to monitor a central exchange number, which transferred inbound calls to designated offices or individuals.

“All those wiretap records were blank as we failed to get any conversation from the tape,” Huang said.

The SID did not mention the details in a press conference called yesterday morning because the officials did not have the correct information, he said.

Huang said when the SID was investigating a case involving former Taiwan High Court judges Chen Jun-ho (陳榮和), the division came across a person suspected of asking Ker to help a prisoner be released on parole, and at the same time found funds entering Ker’s bank accounts. The SID suspected he was taking bribes and applied to the Taipei District Court to wiretap four telephones including that said to be of the legislature’s central exchange.

However, Huang insisted that the number was personal, not the legislature’s central exchange number. He declined to reveal the identity of the number’s user.

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