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Sat, Jan 12, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Legislators criticize bribery slur

MONEY FOR VOTES DPP and New Party lawmakers said accusations that up to 20 of their colleagues had been bribed to support a video-game bill were unfounded

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers yesterday criticized accusations made by DPP lawmaker Chang Chin-fang (張清芳) that up to 20 of his colleagues had taken bribes in return for supporting a bill to amend the Electronic Game Regulation Act (電子遊戲場業管理條例).

The KMT has also told its lawmakers to withdraw their endorsement of the amendment, which would legalize video-game arcades, yet continue to ban video games for gambling.

Chang and another DPP lawmaker, Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津), held a press conference on Thursday during which they accused colleagues from various parties of accepting bribes, ranging between NT$500,000 and NT$3 million, from operators of video-game arcades to endorse the amendment.

Yesterday morning, KMT Secretary-General Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) contacted the KMT's legislative caucus whip, Lee Cheng-chong (李正宗), asking him to find out if any KMT legislator was involved in the alleged corruption.

Lin told Lee: "Before we clear things up, our policy is to drop our endorsement of the amendment. We cannot allow any one of our legislators to accept bribes. We need to figure out who those people are, if there are any."

New Party lawmaker Elmer Fung (馮滬祥) said that the accusation was ridiculous since Yeh and Chang failed to provide any evidence.

"I have endorsed the amendment," Fung said. "However, it is an insult for them to say that lawmakers who endorsed the bill have accepted bribes since it's not the truth. I will commit suicide if I am found guilty."

DPP lawmaker Lin Kuo-hua (林國華) said that the Ministry of Justice (法務部) should begin its investigation of the case and find out who actually accepted the bribes.

"Yeh and Chang accused those who have endorsed the amendment without presenting any evidence," the DPP's Lin said.

"It's actually not fair to those who did not accept the money but still endorsed the bill. If you want to point the finger at somebody, you need to back it up with evidence. Now, more and more lawmakers will drop their endorsement because nobody wants to be misunderstood."

KMT lawmaker Hsu Shu-po (許舒博), who proposed the amendment, said he would stand by it.

"We need the amendment to regulate these video-game arcades so they can be legalized," Hsu said.

"By doing so, we can create more job opportunities. ... So I'll keep up the fight."

In response to lawmakers' requests for an investigation, the Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation said that Yeh and Chang's accusation had not been verified but would investigate if necessary.

"We do not have a list of those lawmakers who allegedly accepted bribes," said an anonymous senior officer at the bureau.

"However, investigators will do what they must do when the time comes."

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