Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 3 News List

DPP condemns conduct of Hualien council speaker

LINKS TO CRIME The party said the aid provided by the speaker to three criminal suspects shows the KMT has not cut its ties to `black gold'

By Chang Yun-Ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused Hualien County Council Speaker Yang Wen-chih (楊文值) of using his position to force the local police to free three suspected drug dealers.

The accusations came after Yang, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), drove off with the three suspects, who were detained in Hualien's Chih-an County Precinct on Tuesday night, before the police had conducted a thorough investigation into their alleged drug dealings.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) accused Yang of blatantly ignoring the legal system and of shirking a government official's responsibility by forcing the police to release the suspects.

Lee said Yang's influence peddling and connections with local crime syndicates highlight the KMT's ingrained "black-gold" politics at the grassroots level.

A press release issued by the precinct yesterday said the three suspects were found blindfolded in a car loaded with drugs and guns on Tuesday night.

After the suspects were taken to the precinct, Yang appeared to show his concern for the trio, who asked Yang to get them out of the police station.

Yang took the suspects away with him in his car, according to the statement.

The director of the Chih-an Precinct, Yang Ruei-ting (楊瑞庭), later issued an order to investigate the suspects for their involvement in the drug dealings.

The suspects' whereabouts was unknown, the police said at press time last night.

Yang yesterday reprimanded the police officer on duty at the time for negligence in releasing the suspects without further investigation.

Lee called on the Hualien Prosecutors' Office to investigate the case and blasted Yang for setting a bad example.

Lee also questioned the KMT's determination to eradicate "black gold."

"The grassroots `black-gold' politics results from the KMT's corrupt political system during its long grip on power. The KMT has to rely on `black-gold' syndicates to win the election and therefore these mafia-like syndicates are tolerated," he said.

Lee said Yang was the campaign manager for KMT Hualien County Commissioner Hsieh Shen-shan (謝深山) in the August by-election, an indication of the pan-blue camp's possible involvement with "black-gold" politics.

Lee asked whether the blue camp would have Yang serve as its campaign manager in the presidential election race.

The KMT issued a statement yesterday saying it respects the investigation of Yang and said Hsieh will be the director-general of the blue camp's presidential campaign in Hualien.

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