KMT applicants’ gang background raises questions

QUESTIONABLE PAST::More than 300 applications were submitted by people who allegedly have gang ties. The KMT said each application is vetted

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Feb 07, 2017 - Page 1

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday pledged to step up screening of membership applicants, after reportedly seeing a recent influx of applicants with organized crime backgrounds.

The online media outlet Up Media on Sunday reported that a campaign staffer allegedly submitted membership applications from 307 gang members to the party’s Taipei branch before Jan. 20.

Among the applicants is Wan Shao-cheng (萬少丞), who allegedly played a key role in the beating death of off-duty police detective Hsueh Chen-kuo (薛貞國) at a Taipei nightclub in September 2014, the report said.

It said that Wan was merely being used as a “nominal member.”

An unnamed KMT member was quoted in the report as saying that it was difficult to find out which party chairpersonship candidates had recruited Wan.

Jan. 20 was the deadline to apply for KMT membership or to have membership restored to be eligible to vote in the party’s chairperson election on May 20.

“We did come across a man surnamed Wan (萬) who has a criminal record when vetting recent membership applicants. We have returned his application to the district party branch for verification if he is the same person as local media reports suggest,” KMT Taipei branch director Chen Yung-jen (陳永仁) said in a news release.

If the application did come from that Wan, the local branch would ask the person listed as Wan’s reference to reconsider their recommendation, Chen said.

All applications are handled in accordance with the KMT’s regulations concerning the recruitment of new members, Chen said, adding that local branches have called each applicant to ascertain if they knew an application had been submitted and their reasons for wanting to join the party.

“We will make sure that our new members are people who adhere to the Three Principles of the People, support the party’s policies, are enthusiastic and of good moral character,” he added.

Up Media’s report has fueled allegations that some of the chairmanship hopefuls have sought to boost their chances by recruiting “nominal members.”

There are five contenders so far: KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), KMT Vice Chairman and former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), former KMT vice chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) and Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co (台北市農產運銷公司) general manager Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜).