Tue, Mar 02, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Prison was a cinch, says defamation queen

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former New Party legislator Hsieh Chi-ta, facing front, receives flowers from a supporter yesterday after completing her three-month jail sentence for defamation.

PHOTO: LIAO CHENG-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Former judge and New Party legislator Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) completed her three-month jail sentence yesterday, but said she had no regrets.

"To me, [being in jail] was more like sitting doing Zen meditation," Hsieh said as she was received by friends, relatives and supporters following her release.

Hsieh was sentenced on Dec. 21 last year in a defamation case brought by Tseng Wen-hui (曾文惠), the wife of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), against Hsieh, Elmer Feng (馮滬祥) and Tai Chi (戴錡), three members of the New Party.

Hsieh, Feng and Tai had claimed that Tseng attempted to flee to New York after the 2000 presidential election with US$85 million in her luggage but was turned back by customs officials.

Opting to go to jail instead of paying an NT$81,000 fine, Hsieh was unrepentant about her behavior and said that her three-month jail term was "worthwhile."

"I don't mind serving the three-month jail term, because I think it is very worthwhile to have served out a sentence after pulling down the individual who has greatly harmed the country and the KMT [Chinese Nationalist Party]," Hsieh said, referring to Lee.

In March 2000, after the KMT lost the presidential election to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Hsieh was among angry protesters who demonstrated outside KMT headquarters in Taipei.

They were demanding that Lee, who was chairman of the KMT at the time, step down from his post immediately.

While saying that she had no desire to run in the next legislative election, Hsieh said that as long as they needed her, she would go out of her way to boost the campaigns of candidates in the KMT and the People First Party.

Meanwhile, Li Ao (李敖), the maverick commentator who was the New Party's presidential candidate in the 2000 election, was reported as saying yesterday that he would compete in the legislative elections at the end of the year.

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