Mon, Jul 28, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker escapes Manila siege

COUP SEF Vice Chairman Chang Chun-hung was visiting the Philippines when soldiers demanding a change of government stormed the hotel he was staying in

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Straits Exchange Foundation Vice Chairman and DPP lawmaker-at-large Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏) yesterday escaped without injury from the hands of Philippine mutineers in Manila, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"As far as I know, he managed to relocate to another hotel around noon with the help of the original hotel," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Richard Shih (石瑞琦).

According to Shih, Chang was staying at the Inter Continental hotel located in Manila's financial district. The hotel was one of the two high-priced hotels stormed by a military rebellion demanding the resignation of the government.

The other hotel was Oak Wood, where the Australian ambassador to the Philippines was held hostage and later released.

But according to Early Wang (王而立), one of Chang's old associates and the sole proxy designated by Chang to talk to the media here in Taipei, Chang stayed at the Oak Wood hotel and later relocated to the Diamond Hotel, which is a 45-minute drive away from downtown Malina.

"He's now safe along with other hotel residents," Wang said.

According to Wang, Chang was woken up by a loud noise outside his hotel room at around 6 am yesterday morning when the mutineers stormed the hotel.

"Chang told me on the phone this afternoon that the rebels behaved themselves very well when they entered his room and were not violent to him nor any of the hotel residents," Wang said.

Shocked by the unexpected guests, Chang said that he was amazed at how calmly local people reacted to the attempted coup, Wang said.

Wang also dismissed speculation that Chang's visit was politically or commercially motivated.

"While he [Chang] enjoys a great personal relationship with our diplomatic representative there, it's impossible to bypass him to engage in any kind of political activities," he said.

Although Chang has a private business venture in Taiwan, Wang said it is unlikely that Chang will expand his business overseas.

"His interest is in the media and I think the odds of developing such a career in the Philippines are quite slim," he said.

Chang is the chairman of Global TV.

According to Wang, Chang and five of his friends and families left on a four-day vacation on Friday and is due back today.

While his daughter was scheduled to be back yesterday, Chang and the other four members of the group may stay a little bit longer to make up for the time lost today, Wang said.

De facto ambassador to the Philippines Benjamin Jyh-Yuan Lo (羅致遠) said that the representative office will do its utmost to offer assistance to Taiwanese travelers and expatriates.

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