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Thu, Mar 29, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers fear fights to go unchecked

PUGILISTIC POLITICS Legislators are convinced that a discipline committee, as in the past, will fail to punish the latest outbreak of violence in the Legislative Yuan

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers from across party lines yesterday voiced their doubts that the Legislative Yuan's Discipline Committee, long criticized for its inaction, will mete out appropriate punishments to unruly legislators involved in the latest outbreak of physical violence at the legislature.

The committee, comprised of the chairpersons of the ten legislative committees, has never taken action against members involved in violent conduct.

During a meeting of the Education Committee yesterday morning, independent legislator Lo Fu-chu (羅福助) struck female colleague Diane Lee (李慶安), who insinuated that he had misused his power and interfered in the reshuffle of the board of a private college being investigated for financial irregularities.

Tu Peng-sen (涂炳深), a top aide to New Party legislative leader Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大), attributed the disciplinary committee's permissiveness to what he said was a common desire on the part of all caucuses to prevent filibusters from stalling the lawmaking process. Internal rules allow individual members to delay legislation through such means as staging protests.

Tu said that Legislative Speaker Wang Jing-pyng (王金平), as the legislature's leader, could exert substantial influence over the matter if he wanted to.

Wang told reporters he regretted the incident and promised to address it tomorrow at the latest.

The disciplinary committee may not take the initiative to probe the controversy unless asked to do so by the legislature.

Staff working for the committee would not talk to the media except to say that there was nothing the committee could do for the time being. Independent lawmaker Liao Hsueh-kuang (廖學廣) said that he doubted whether the committee would dare take any action against Lo, whom he blames for his abduction in 1996, during which time he was blindfolded, gagged and put in a cage. Liao had incurred Lo's wrath for criticizing his background in organized crime.

Incidents involving lawmakers Lo Fu-chu

March 29, 2001

Lo strikes Independent legislator Diane Lee after she accuses him of abuse of power.

March 2, 2000

Sentenced to 59 days in prison for attacking fellow DPP lawmaker Yu Jan-daw back in 1999.

August 1996

Accused by independent lawmaker Liao Hsueh-kuang of masterminding Liao's kidnapping.

June 15, 1999

Fights with DPP lawmaker Lee Wen-chung over a lottery bill and hits fellow deputy Yu Jan-daw who tries to stop the brawl.

March 1996

Accused by the DPP legislative caucus of plotting the mugging of the party's secretary-general, Chiou I-jen.


Lo admits to being one of the three founders and the "spiritual leader" of the Tien Tau Meng (天道盟), a syndicate of Taiwanese gangs. He denies, however, that the organization is involved in criminal activities.

Fearing violent reprisals, few lawmakers have the guts to challenge Lo, Liao said.

In the 1980s, Lo was jailed in a government campaign against hooligans. He later spent two years abroad in self-imposed exile before being elected to the legislature in late 1995.

"Everything will return to normal after the media frenzy subsides in a couple of days' time," Liao said, adding that it was certain that the disciplinary committee would not deprive any members of their powers, the severest penalty available.

Other potential punishments include denial of entry to legislative sessions or a mandatory apology to the person wronged. Echoing the sense of frustration, KMT lawmaker Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) warned that violence, if left uncurbed, would turn the legislature into a wrestling ring, in which muscle, rather than professional know-how, reigns supreme.

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