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Fri, Feb 25, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Another member of the KMT leaves the party behind

DEFECTION Minister Without Portfolio David Chung said the recent raid on Liu Sung-fan's residence was the `last straw,' forcing him to quit both the KMT and his post

BY JOU YING-CHENG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister Without Portfolio Chung Jung-chi announced his resignation and withdrawal from the KMT at a press conference yesterday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Minister Without Portfolio David Chung (鍾榮吉) announced his resignation and his withdrawal from the KMT yesterday, citing disillusionment with the party and "guilty feelings" about his role as a high-ranking party member.

"The KMT believes only in advantages and disadvantages, not right and wrong," he said at a press conference yesterday.

Chung said he had considered leaving the party and the government for quite some time.

"The last straw ... was the raid on Liu Sung-fan's (劉松藩) house," he said.

Liu, who is a former legislative speaker and now a campaign official for independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜), is filing a complaint over the raid claiming it was illegal. Soong supporters insist the search was politically motivated.

Taichung District Court Judge Chuang Shen-yuan (莊深淵) ordered a raid on Liu's house last week on suspicion that he had been involved in illegal financial deals with a troubled Taichung-based conglomerate.

"I don't know whether Liu has broken the law. "What I do know, however, is that he would have still been enjoying a good reputation and respect had he stayed within the KMT and backed KMT candidates, even if he had broken the law," Chung said.

It was widely anticipated Chung would announce his support for Soong yesterday.

The KMT said Chung's withdrawal from the party was a calculated political move that would have only a minor impact on the outcome of the election.

As a high rank official both in government and once in the KMT, Chung's sudden withdrawal only 23 days before the election raised eyebrows in political circles.

Chung, who previously had been deputy secretary-general of the KMT and the secretary-general of the party's Taiwan Provincial Committee, yesterday also admitted to "feeling guilty" about some jobs he had done in political interests of the party while serving as a high ranking party official.

But he declined to specify what he had done.

He said that it is painful to watch and participate in the KMT's injustice, and he could not stand it any longer.

"In the past, some people followed the party's orders and did some things to keep the party in power -- some of these things might have been wrong," he said.

Asked repeatedly if he would support Soong, Chung said that he could not directly answer the question, and he would take time to consider his next step.

KMT spokesman Huang Hwei-chen (黃輝珍) called his resignation a campaign trick.

"Through these occasional defections, [the Soong camp] intends to propagate the false image that they are strong."

Former KMT heavyweights Liu Sung-fan and the former minister of justice Liao Cheng-hao (廖正豪) recently switched their allegiance to the breakaway candidate Soong.

KMT presidential candidate Lien Chan's (連戰) campaign officials also downplayed Chung's impact on the election, saying Chung, despite being an ethnic Hakka, would not pull the Hakka vote away from Lien.

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