Thu, Sep 17, 2015 - Page 1 News List

KMT Ko slur sparks council scuffle

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, center, is furious yesterday during a meeting of the Taipei City Council after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor William Hsu said Ko might have a “special” relationship with EasyCard Corp general manager Tai Chi-chuan.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Scuffles broke out at the Taipei City Council yesterday when a Taipei city councilor made a disrespectful remark to Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).

Taipei city councilors of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday continued their boycott against Ko over a roster published by EasyCard Corp of Taipei city councilors, city government officials and corporations who requested controversial EasyCards featuring a Japanese adult video actress.

EasyCard Corp is a semi-governmental firm in which the Taipei City Government is the largest shareholder, having a 40 percent stake.

During a question-and-answer session, KMT Taipei City Councilor William Hsu (徐宏庭) panned EasyCard’s handling of the roster and accused Ko of protecting the company formerly headed by his “protege” Tai Chi-chuan (戴季全).

“Sooner or later, [former Taipei Clean Government Committee member] Neil Peng (馮光遠) will say that you and Tai have a ‘special/sexual’ relationship’ (特殊性關係),” Hsu said.

Peng used the term to describe the relationship between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his close aide King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), which prompted legal action by King.

King lost the libel suit.

Hsu’s remark prompted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥) to slam his fist on the table and accuse him of abusing his councilors’ immunity, to which Hsu replied: “If you don’t like it, sue me.”

Tensions escalated as Tung later confronted Hsu face-to-face, prompting city councilors from both the KMT and DPP to separate them.

Ko, visibly angered, also pounded his desk upon hearing Hsu’s remark. The mayor at one point attempted to stand up in protest, but was stopped by Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮).

Ko later told reporters that he had telephoned Taipei City Council Speaker Wu Pi-chu (吳碧珠) and apologized for his action.

“In fact, I still cannot stomach that kind of personal attack. I think that it is wrong. As to my losing my temper, I called council speaker Wu Pi-chu and apologized. I am an unconventional politician after all, so sometimes I show my feelings directly. It was unnecessary,” he said.

The decision to publish the roster came after Tung on Tuesday urged his colleagues to return the disputed cards they had received and stop being hypocrites — criticizing the cards while “pocketing” them.

The roster, which was due to be delivered to all Taipei city councilors’ offices at 11am yesterday, was two hours late, and revealed only requestors’ surnames, with their first names edited out.

It was also found to be ambiguous and rife with mistakes. For example, a city councilor surnamed Liao (廖) was said to have requested some cards, but no Taipei city councilor has that surname.

A city councilor surnamed Wu (吳) requested 20 sets of the controversial EasyCards, each containing two cards, but there are four city councilors surnamed Wu.

The number of cards given to corporations, 146 sets, were passed off as simply “company PR,” with no names given, the list showed.

The list also indicated that one of Ko’s advisers, surnamed Chang (張), took 10 sets of cards. Ko’s close aide Chang Yisan (張益瞻) confirmed that it was he who had asked for the cards.

A total of 1,608 sets were sold before EasyCard began accepting pre-orders via telephone on Sept. 1, contradicting a statement the company made that all 15,000 card sets would be sold by telephone.

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