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Fri, Nov 24, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Police end protest by commissioner's wife

PARTY'S OVER The Nantou County commissioner's wife said police were brutal in taking down tents she and others erected outside the prosecutors' office

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

Police early yesterday morning tore down tents in front of the Nantou County District Prosecutors' office where the wife of detained Nantou County Commissioner Peng Pai-hsien (彭百顯) has been conducting a protest for the past six days.

Peng has been held incommunicado on corruption charges since Nov. 14. His wife, Wu Wen-wan (吳文婉), and supporters started a round-the-clock protest on Nov. 18 against what they called an "unjust judiciary."

They erected tents in front of the district prosecutors' office in preparation for a lengthy protest. Wu said she would protest "until Peng is released."

But at around 2am yesterday local police moved in to tear down the shelters.

The police action met with no resistance. But Wu and others continued their protest at the site.

The police said they had moved in to break up the camp because the protesters had violated road traffic regulations.

Wu, however, criticized the police's behavior as "bullying women and elderly people" and claimed the police were acting under pressure from county councilors. Wu, Peng's mother and their supporters marched to protest against the council at about 11am.

Over the past five days, several councilors have criticized the protest and asked the police to ban it.

The majority of councilors are close to KMT speaker Cheng Wen-tung (鄭文銅), a staunch political enemy of Peng.

Protesters shouted outside the council, asking the elected officials to stop "dropping stones on somebody who has already fallen into a well" (落井下石), meaning that, in their interpretation, the council opponents of Peng were still suppressing his followers even after he had been detained.

Peng's supporters have claimed that his detention is the product of a political struggle.

Speaker Cheng received the protesters but said the police worked in accordance with the law, not the opinion of the councilors.

Dissatisfied with Cheng's comment, the protesters returned to their protest site and re-erected their encampment. The protest continues.

Peng is charged with misappropriating post-921 quake relief donations and unlawfully manipulating the contracting process for reconstruction projects.

Two pieces of paper were seized by the prosecution and adopted as evidence by the court in its ruling that Peng be detained.

The prosecution claimed the pieces of paper contained Peng's instructions to destroy material evidence, although it admitted that the written instructions were not in Peng's scripts.

Peng's supporters, however, said he was framed.

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