Following the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office’s decision to indict Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) on Friday on charges of leaking classified information, the Taiwan Bar Association and other prosecutors yesterday called on Huang to step down immediately.
Huang was accused of violating the Criminal Code and the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法) when he met with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Aug. 31 and the next day to present the president with information on a case of alleged improper lobbying involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) that led to what was called the “September strife” between Ma and Wang.
The association said in a press release that it felt that Huang was “no longer fit to be prosecutor-general after violating the confidentiality of an ongoing investigation and interfering with the independence of the judiciary.”
Among the 39 members of the 46-seat board of directors and supervisors, 21 supported issuing the statement to express the association’s stance on Huang’s case, association chairman Lin Kuo-ming (林國明) said. As the nation’s top prosecutor, Huang supervises all the nation’s prosecutors, including the Special Investigation Division (SID), Lin said.
“Can prosecutors bring charges against Huang without fear if Huang, as a defendant, appears in court in the capacity of prosecutor-general? This is what worries us,” Lin said.
Other prosecutors had also left posts on an online site for prosecutors, with one saying: “How can prosecutors not be angry when the president blatantly taps the secret-spilling SID [for information]? The SID should be abolished.”
Others said that they were sad to see that the SID, a brainchild of prosecutors originally conceived to combat illegal activities of high-ranked government officials, had instead become a tool for the president to fight his political battles, adding that if the prosecutor-general has to report to the president, the SID should be abolished.
“If [Huang] took the transcription of a witness of an ongoing criminal investigation and surveillance data to the president before the case was closed, would that not constitute a breach of investigation confidentiality? Does that not count as disclosing secrets? If the entire case was under investigation as an administrative case, why were methods reserved for criminal investigations only used?” one wrote.
The post refers to the SID’s recommendation that the improper influence case should be treated as an administrative case when it had closed the investigation.
Former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the Ministry of Justice should be fully aware of how severe the incident was, adding that the credibility of the judiciary and the public’s trust in it hinged on the case. The ministry should suspend Huang until the court reaches a verdict, Tsai said.
Separately, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said the prosecutor-general should have the wisdom to take responsibility for his actions.
However, former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) defended Huang as a dedicated prosecutor with a sense of justice. On his Facebook page, Lo shared an article written by Huang’s deceased daughter Huang Yi-chun (黃宜君). In the article titled “My father’s business card,” she described her father as a hard-working man with integrity, and said fighting injustice has been his top priority.