Fri, Jan 10, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers give Hsieh a hard time

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers from across party lines yesterday lined up to question the integrity of Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), with some demanding his resignation after investigators detained his top aide for suspected graft and corruption.

Hsieh reiterated to the press yesterday he was unaware of former Kaohsiung City Government official Wang Wen-cheng's (王文政) alleged involvement in the recent election of Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄).

Wang, a close friend of Chu, allegedly helped bribe DPP city councilors in the hope they would vote for Chu as speaker on Dec. 25 last year.

DPP Legislator Liang Mu-yung (梁牧養) urged Hsieh to step down, saying the scandal has made him unqualified to administer the southern municipality.

"Hsieh has sought to defend himself by saying he backed another independent councilor, Tsai Ching-yuan (蔡慶源), for the speakership," Liang told a news conference. "Well, Tsai is as questionable as Chu. Both are suspected of vote-buying. Only Tsai does not enjoy national name-recognition like Chu does."

Liang, who represents Kaohsiung City, accused Hsieh of lying about the NT$2.8 million he collected from a local temple for his re-election campaign.

He added Hsieh made the temple send the donation to the DPP headquarters, which then reimbursed the money to the mayor to circumvent rules that bar candidates from taking political donations over NT$300,000.

Liang denied ulterior motives behind his criticism of Hsieh, who earlier hinted he has estranged fellow DPP lawmakers for turning down their requests for loans with the municipal bank.

Chu Hsing-yu (朱星羽), another DPP lawmaker from Kaohsiung City, said it is unethical for Hsieh to ask the temple for money and withhold licenses from its annexes later.

"One cannot cheat God," he said. "But Hsieh, shrewd and eloquent, will mostly likely emerge from the political storm unscathed."

Unwilling to miss the Hsieh bashing, the KMT legislative caucus urged investigators not to spare the mayor from the vote-buying probe that has implicated Kaohsiung city councilors of all stripes.

KMT legislative whip Lee Chuan-chia (李全教) said the whole thing smelled of influence-peddling on the part of Hsieh and that prosecutors must not hesitate to investigate the mayor, a former DPP chairman.

He also called on the Control Yuan, the government watchdog agency, to look into Hsieh's potential malfeasance.

TSU Legislator Su Ying-kwei (蘇盈貴) said Hsieh blatantly lied by claiming he knew nothing about Wang's role in the vote-buying scheme.

"That is the biggest lie I have ever heard, though I'm not sure if he played any part in the scandal," Su said.

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