Sat, Feb 05, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutors launch sexual harassment probe

ALLEGATIONS A female plaintiff says a Taipei prosecutor took her hand and read her palm during a hearing. The prosecutors' office is investigating the incident

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office yesterday said it will begin to investigate one of its own prosecutors after a female plaintiff filed a sexual harassment suit, alleging the prosecutor had taken her hand and read her palm during an investigation hearing on Thursday.

"It is my understanding that the prosecutor asked for the plaintiff's permission before he did so. However, whether it was appropriate behavior during an investigative hearing will be decided by the prosecutors who are investigating it," said Lin Bang-liang (林邦樑), spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office.

The alleged incident occurred during an investigation hearing into a slander case filed by Tsai Chi-ling against Huang Chih-chun (黃至君) -- who is the son of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Huang Hsin-chieh (黃信介) -- and his wife Tseng Mei-ling (曾美玲).

Taipei Prosecutor Tsai Hung-chan (蔡宏展) is in charge of investigating that case and is the alleged harasser.

Tsai Chi-ling has said she is Huang Chih-chun's former girlfriend and alleges he and his wife called her a "psycho" on a television program last year.

The couple has, however, denied there was any relationship between Tsai Chi-ling and Huang Chih-chun.

On Thursday morning, Tsai Hung-chan summoned Tsai Chi-ling to gather more information on the case. As is typical for such hearings, it was a closed-door meeting between the prosecutor and plaintiff.

According to Tsai Chi-ling, during the hearing Tsai Hung-chan suddenly left his seat, walked toward her, took her hand and read her palm.

She said that he then told her, "According to my understanding from reading your palm, you are a woman who would constantly cheat on your man."

"This is ridiculous and I took that as sexual harassment," Tsai Chi-ling said. "In addition, when he approached me, I smelled alcohol on him."

Meanwhile, newly-assigned Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) said that Tsai Hung-chan had likely meant well, but added that the action was inappropriate, especially as it had taken place during an investigative hearing in a courtroom.

"I know that he is fond of palm reading and often does so for friends and co-workers. It is totally OK," Shih said.

"But it is not appropriate if it happens during a hearing. We will punish him for this if necessary," he said.

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