Sat, Dec 24, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Annette Lu demands strict probe of VCD investigation


Peng Jin-wan, center, who was in charge of the post-production of a VCD released in the run-up to the local elections, yesterday describes the details of his arrest during a public hearing held by the Presidential Advisory Group on Human Rights, chaired by Vice President Annette Lu, left.


Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday demanded a strict review of what she called the inappropriate behavior of police officers and investigators in the case of the political VCD scandal that erupted in the run-up to Dec. 3 elections.

The Presidential Advisory Group on Human Rights, chaired by Lu, yesterday convened an unprecedented public hearing at the Presidential Office.

Lu said that such a hearing would give the nation a chance to discuss whether people's basic human rights are being properly protected.

"Especially, we have to discuss how authority has been abused by those candidates who have the power to do so," Lu said.

In the middle of last month, Taoyuan police raided the studio at which the VCD, entitled The Ugliness Behind the Beautiful, had been produced, despite not having a search warrant.

The VCD had allegedly been made to cast a bad light on Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), both of whom were then running for re-election as candidates for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

At the public hearing yesterday, Peng Jin-wan (彭金萬), who was in charge of the post-production of the VCD, talked about his arrest.

"On Nov. 11, my contracted studio called and told me to fetch the production, since the dubbing work had been done. However, when I arrived at the studio, I was immediately caught by seven or eight police officers, who later took me to Taoyuan," Peng said.

The call he received had not come from the studio, but from one of the police officers, Peng said.

The arrest triggered a serious debate on the freedom of speech in Taiwan. On Nov. 17, Lu said at a press conference that the police should not conduct searches based only on claims made by political figures. In addition, Lu said that the two KMT politicians' criticism of the VCDs implies that censorship remains necessary in Taiwan.

Lu yesterday accused the police and investigators of violating human rights, because the Publishing Law (出版法) was abolished in 1999, making it unnecessary to review VCDs before their release.

However, prosecutor Liu Cheng-wu (劉承武) from Taoyuan, who also attended yesterday's hearing, said the search had been justified.

"Although both sides have different points of view about the arrest, all clues provided by informants who reported the case pointed in the same direction," Liu said.

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