Prosecutors indict `Next' editor - Taipei Times
Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors indict `Next' editor

NO BYLINES Executive editor Pei Wei said that he would take responsibility for the four stories that sparked libel complaints, and that he would defend himself in court

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors indicted Next magazine executive editor Pei Wei (裴偉) on Friday night on a charge of libel.

"Pei told us that he is the head of the magazine and has the authority to decide which stories will be published. He said he would take legal responsibility for the publication as the four stories did not contain bylines," Taipei Prosecutor Chang Chi-chuan (張志全) said.

Chang did not recommend a sentence for Pei, as is customary, leaving any decision on sentencing to the court.

Five plaintiffs have sued Pei over five different stories in the magazine. One of the suits was dropped, however, as Pei's arguments to defend himself were accepted.

According to Chang's indictment, the magazine, in its edition of Aug. 28 last year, published a story that said that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津) dated the Ministry of the Interior's correspondent at the Legislative Yuan, Tsai Chien-chieh (蔡倩傑). The story said Tsai is married and younger than Yeh. Yeh later told reporters that she was merely discussing business with Tsai.

In its Sept. 10 edition, Next said the Chinatrust Whales (中信鯨) professional baseball team cheated during regular season games as local mafia tried to become involved in making money from gambling.

In its edition of Dec. 18 last year, a story said that DPP Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) and DPP Legislator Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠), both married, had affair at Chen's residence on Dec. 10 last year.

Next also said in its edition of Dec. 25 last year that Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp chairman Winston Wang (王文洋) lost a lot of money on his investments in China and had to return to Taiwan to seek monetary support from his father, Formosa Plastics chairman Wang Yung-ching (王永慶).

In its edition of Jan. 22, the magazine reported that Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲), then the minister of the interior, took advantage of his position to help Ching-yu Development Co with a construction project. The story alleged that Yu accepted kickbacks from the company.

Each incident sparked a lawsuit against the magazine but Chang Chi-chuan accepted Pei's defense in the case involving Yu.

Although Pei insisted that the magazine's reporters had investigated the stories, he failed to provide evidence to support his statements, Chang Chi-chuan said.

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