Thu, Aug 15, 2019 - Page 1 News List

KMT to expel member maligning Han

RESOLUTION PASSED:With general elections just 150 days away, all members of the party should unite, Central Standing Committee member Lee Cho-ping said

By Shih Hsiao-kuang, Wang Jung-hsiang and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu is allegedly pictured with his back to the camera while playing mahjong at Club Med Bali resort in Indonesia on Feb. 4.

Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Taipei Times, from Kaohsiung City Councilor Lin Chih-hung’s Facebook

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee yesterday passed a resolution by committee member Lee Cho-ping (李昭平) to “promptly expel” any party member who maliciously attacks, maligns or slanders the KMT’s presidential or legislative nominees and tarnishes the party’s image.

With the elections just 150 days away, all members of the party should unite, Lee said.

The party cannot allow people with ulterior motives to use any reason as an excuse to destroy party unity, he said, adding that discipline in the party should be strictly enforced during the campaign period.

The resolution came amid allegations from within the party that Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), its presidential candidate, is a gambler, an alcoholic and a womanizer.

The KMT Party Disciplinary Committee yesterday unanimously agreed with a request from the party’s New Taipei City chapter that Central Review Committee member Chen Hung-chang (陳宏昌) be stripped of party membership after he criticized Han.

While accompanying President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on a visit to New Taipei City’s Yonglian Temple (湧蓮寺), Chen said that his son had asked him why the KMT would nominate a candidate who “plays mahjong, has fun and hugs women all day.”

Chen’s case was scheduled to be heard by the Central Standing Committee yesterday afternoon.

KMT rules stipulate that expelled members must wait six years before reapplying to rejoin the party.

Kaohsiung City Councilor Lin Chih-hung (林智鴻) of the Democratic Progressive Party yesterday posted a photograph on Facebook that seemingly refutes Han’s claim on Monday that he has not played mahjong since becoming mayor.

Lin said that the photograph was given to him on Tuesday by an anonymous source who said that they witnessed Han, KMT Legislator Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) and others playing mahjong at the Club Med Bali resort in Indonesia at about 11pm on Feb. 4, during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The source, who was drinking with family nearby, said that Han and others were still playing when they left the area at about 1am.

While friends and family often play mahjong during the Lunar New Year holiday, Han’s claim that he has not played since he took office contradicts what others witnessed, Lin said, adding that Han needs to explain whether he “misremembered or lied.”

Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Anne Wang (王淺秋) said that the mayor was simply having fun with family and friends during the holiday.

They did not play for money and the game did not take place in Kaohsiung, she added.

Han was scheduled to meet with KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) at a restaurant in Taipei yesterday evening, an anonymous source said, adding that KMT Vice Chairman Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) would also be present.

Besides talking about the location of Han’s campaign headquarters and how the party could support his campaign, Han and Wu might also brainstorm ways to improve his image, the source said.

It is “completely reasonable” for Wu and Han to meet at this point, an anonymous KMT member said, adding that Han would likely talk to Wu about what he needs from the party, while Wu would ask what the party can do to help.

During a KMT Central Evaluation Committee meeting last month, committee member Chao Shou-po (趙守博) urged Han to quit drinking, while former Kaohsiung County commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), who served six months as convener for Han’s panel on cross-strait affairs, on Tuesday told the media that Han “has a mistress, binges and goes to nightclubs.”

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