The strained relationship between the Taipei city government and city councils took another dive yesterday, as KMT City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) filed a NT$50 million civil lawsuit for slander against city spokesman King Pu-tsung (金浦聰). The action followed King's allegedly "inappropriate" remarks -- in which he questioned Wang's ability to examine the municipal budget.
"This is an individual lawsuit, not `city councilor versus official,'" Wang said yesterday. "The reason I insist on filing the suit is that he shouldn't make such inappropriate remarks about things he doesn't fully understand. What he said is insulting, and has caused irreparable damage to me personally," Wang said.
Last month, Wang questioned King at a council meeting over the efficient use of the information department's budget.
King refuted Wang's remarks by saying that as of April, its efficiency rate had been measured at 80 percent, not 30 percent as Wang had claimed.
Following their squabble, King told reporters that their "different understanding" had been the cause of the dispute, and admitted that as a student of journalism, he did not know much about budgets. Neither, he said, did Wang, having majored in Chinese.
Wang subsequently demanded a public apology, which he said King failed to provide.
Informed of the lawsuit by reporters, King refused to comment, saying only that he "respects councilor Wang's decision to exercise his legal right."
One commentator saw the lawsuit more as a publicity stunt than a judicial battle.
"From a scholar's point of view, I believe filing a lawsuit creates newspaper headlines, and publicity is probably what Wang really wants -- after all, he's a politician," said Chou Liang-dai (
"If Wang is smart enough, he should call for a boycott the next time the council examines budgets -- instead of expecting legal justice. The charge can do nothing but deteriorate already strained relations between the city government and the council."
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