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Sat, Sep 01, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Legislator files a slander suit over allegations that he peddles porn

PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKEThough PFP legislator Chen Chao-jung has never been accused by name in a porn piracy scandal, he has filed a slander suit anyway

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A People First Party lawmaker has filed a slander suit against a Taipei City councilor that has accused him of using his PC at the Legislative Yuan to hawk counterfeit merchandise -- including pornography.

But the slander suit is unusual because the city councilor never identified publicly the legislator he suspected of using his Legislative Yuan computer to send out the e-mail solicitations.

When airing his allegations this week, DPP City Councilor Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) never said who he thought was behind the e-mails, which offered for sale counterfeit products such as computer software, movies, music CDs and pornographic films.

In an apparent pre-emptive move, PFP lawmaker Chen Chao-jung (陳朝容) filed the slander suit against Tuan at the Taipei District Court yesterday.

"It's inappropriate for him to make groundless allegations against me," Chen said.

At a media conference earlier this week, Tuan told reporters that a lawmaker was using his computer at the legislature to sell pirated pornographic materials. At the time, he asked investigators to help track down the suspect.

"I have never, ever accused a specific member of the Legislative Yuan of using government computers to send out e-mails advertising the sale of pirated goods," Tuan said yesterday. "I only said that my office was able to trace the origin of the message back to the Legislative Yuan."

Tuan said that he refrained from pointing the finger at any particular person because there was a lack of concrete evidence.

"That's why we provided the information to the police, hoping they would launch an investigation and locate the seller," the city councilor said.

Though Tuan didn't directly accuse the PFP lawmaker, after Wednesday's media conference at least one source speculated that the culprit was a PFP member.

But Chen's name was never mentioned.

Tuan said that it was true that part of the e-mail's IP address was modified to conceal the identity of the sender. But he was able to look up the owner of the server by using the e-mail's domain name server information.

Tuan yesterday asked the Legislative Yuan's information center to launch an investigation to locate the origin of the e-mail. There are 256 computers at the Legislative Yuan.

The center has indicated that the message did not come from Chen's office, but may have originated from another PFP legislator's office.

Tuan said that while Chen has denied the sale of counterfeit products, his office assistant, Chen Yen-chih (陳彥智), in the past has admitted to selling illegally copied pornographic CDs and computer software to members of the public, including reporters.

In explaining his slander suit, the PFP legislator said the allegations have "done tremendous damage, not only to my personal image but also my political reputation."

Chen questioned why Tuan would accuse a lawmaker even before he even knew exactly which individual had sent out the e-mail peddling pornography.

Although Tuan had traced the e-mail back to the Legislative Yuan, Chen said, the city councilor did not know which lawmaker had sent out the solicitation.

Tuan's response was that Chen Chao-jung was simply over-reacting.

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