Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Opposition blasts secret service payments for Lin

FUNNY MONEY Pan-blue lawmakers called it absurd that a housemaid for the president had received a `secret service subsidy' in addition to her normal pay

CNA , TAIPEI

Monthly payments to Lin Hsiu-chen (林秀貞), a housemaid who works for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at a property owned by him and occupied by his daughter, drew flak from opposition lawmakers again yesterday after it was revealed that she had received a "secret service subsidy" from the National Security Bureau (NSB) over the past five years.

The Chinese-language China Times yesterday published a story which cited NSB officials as saying that in addition to receiving a monthly payment of NT$25,000 while named as a janitor on the payroll of the Presidential Office, Lin also received more than NT$20,000 per month from the NSB as a "secret service subsidy."

NSB officials said Lin -- better known to the public as Auntie A-ching (阿卿嫂) -- received the subsidy because she "assisted and worked with the secret service."

But because of changes in her working conditions, the subsidy was stopped this month, according to the reports.

The subsidy is given to secret service staff maintaining the security of the president and the vice president, and Lin's subsidy was equal to that paid to an army captain, the reports said.

Opposition lawmakers lambasted the subsidy payments as "highly improper," but the Democratic Progressive Party caucus said that in view of the public feelings, the subsidy for the past five years -- estimated at around NT$1.16 million (US$35,000) -- had been returned.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said that it was "pathetic" to use taxpayers' money to pay Lin, and ridiculed her for being described as a member of the secret service while actually working as a housemaid.

People First Party caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) noted that Lin was neither a secret servicewoman, nor a plain clothes policewoman, and so had no right to claim such a subsidy from the NSB.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Le-gislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) said that Lin's claiming of the subsidy was outrageous and that the NSB should make a full review.

Lin had since earlier this month resigned from the Presidential Office, but she remains in Chen's private employ at his own expense.

Presidential Office Spokesman David Lee (李南陽) yesterday said that Chen's daughter Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤) last week returned a total of more than NT$2 million.

That money included salary and bonuses paid to Lin from Presidential Office funds and the NSB funds, and money paid for Lin since Chen Hsing-yu married and moved into her parent's house on Minsheng E Road in Taipei five years ago, Lee said.

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