Thu, Sep 09, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Liu Sung-fan withdraws PFP membership

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Alfred Chen, the chairman of the Namchow Chemical Industrial Co.

FILE PHOTO: LIBERTY TIMES

People First Party (PFP) legislator-at-large and former legislative speaker Liu Sung-fan (劉松藩), after resigning his seat upon being sentenced to four years in jail two days ago, withdrew his PFP membership yesterday. The PFP caucus announced that the party would not consider sending party chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to the legislature to fill the seat.

Liu sent a letter to the PFP caucus yesterday to say that he had officially informed Soong of his decision to withdraw his party membership. He said that he was worried his case would affect the party's campaign for the legislative elections, so he decided to withdraw from the PFP.

Liu was on Tuesday sentenced by the Taiwan High Court's Taichung Branch to four years in jail for corruption. The court said that Liu, as the chairman of the board at the Taichung Business Bank, received NT$150 million in kickbacks from Tseng Cheng-jen (曾正仁), president of the Kuangsan Enterprise Group.

Liu's office yesterday said that he was still in New York, but would return to Taiwan. The office declined to give a specific date for his return.

PFP caucus whip Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said that Liu Sung-fan's family did not want him to come back to Taiwan, to avoid him going to jail at the age of 72, but he speculated that the former legislative speaker was likely to return.

The PFP caucus also announced that Liu's seat would be filled by Namchow Group chairman Alfred Chen (陳飛龍) as Chen was the next candidate on the PFP's legislator-at-large list. The caucus denied that the party would skip Chen and send Soong, the candidate next on the list after Chen, into the legislature.

The replacement issue settled down as Chen and Soong met yesterday at noon and Chen's willingness to fill the seat was confirmed.

"I am happy and have no regret about going to the Legislative Yuan, to represent and speak for the business circle in the legislature," Chen said in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon.

Chen is scheduled to visit PFP headquarters and the caucus today to exchange opinions about his duties in this session.

"The party is sending Chen to the legislature because the order of legislators-at-large on the list was already determined three years ago, and we will abide by the law to fill the seat according to this order of succession," Liu Wen-hsiung said.

"This is also about integrity and honesty -- we promised a place on the list to Chen three years ago, and we are keeping our promise," he said.

Meanwhile, Liu Wen-hsiung said that all necessary paperwork would be finished on time to allow Chen to take the oath before Tuesday, so he could take part in the showdown about the reconsideration request for the controversial statute authorizing the formation of an investigative committee probing the March 19 shooting incident.

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