Thu, Apr 28, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP apologizes for airport violence

DAMAGE CONTROL The party denounced violence and said the incident had damaged the nation's image, amid bickering by the parties over who was to blame

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amid finger-pointing between the ruling and opposition parties, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday apologized to the public for the kerfuffle at the CKS International Airport on Tuesday, saying it had seriously damaged the nation's image.

"We, as a responsible ruling party, feel sorry about what happened and condemn any form of violence," DPP caucus whip Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said. "We are in favor of meting out punishment to those held responsible in accordance with the law and urge agencies concerned to conduct a swift and thorough examination of the matter to prevent any similar occurrence from happening again."

Lai said it is not fair or correct to blame the violence on a single party or individual.

"Until the truth comes out, we hope opposition parties refrain from politicizing the matter and damaging the political climate, which is gradually turning congenial," he said.

Flanked by his colleagues who went to the airport to "see off" Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), Lai asked prosecutors to investigate people wearing either black clothes or T-shirts with the pattern of the national flag and bring them to justice.

"We strongly suspect they were gangsters," DPP Legislator Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said. DPP Legislator Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), who joined the throng at the airport, said he welcomed an investigation into his conduct, but refused to apologize, at least not until the investigation is complete.

In addition to asking government officials to bring suspected gangsters involved in the tussle to justice, Wang condemned New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明), who vowed to return "blood with blood," referring to injured supporters.

"Such venomous comments should have been uttered by such Taiwanese people as I, who was a victim of the infamous `228 incident' by the former foreign regime of KMT," Wang said.

"If I, as a Taiwanese, cannot stage a protest against Lien's attempt to fawn over China, I'd rather die," he said.

As Lien is due back next Tuesday, Wang said he will take two eggs to the airport to welcome him back, but that he will go alone.

DPP Legislator Pan Meng-an (潘孟安) said that the pan-green camp had not started the brawl and that he and his colleague Lin Kuo-Ching (林國慶) were two of the first to be attacked by the angry mob.

Huang Chung-yung (黃宗源), of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), said that both the pan-blue and pan-green camps should be held responsible and he would like to apologize to the public on his party's behalf.

He, however, charged that the pan-blue alliance had colluded with gangsters to beat up innocent people, including seniors. He also criticized the police force for doing a poor job in maintaining order.

Echoing Huang's opinion, TSU caucus whip Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) said that the tragedy could have prevented.

"We had warned the police to be aware of the infiltration of gangsters, but they turned a deaf ear to our warnings," he said.

In addition to asking Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and National Police Administration Director-General Shieh Ing-dan (謝銀黨) to step down, the PFP and the KMT called on the government to punish lawbreakers, including Wang, Lin, Hsu and TSU Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明).

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