Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) has been under attack for his absence from the scene of the anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) campaign when riot police were dispersing his followers on Zhongxiao W Road in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Shih, the campaign leader, told his red-clad followers yesterday that he was there and was meeting with other anti-Chen coordinators at the time. He said they were discussing whether to ask the crowd to retreat from Zhongxiao W Road to the south plaza outside the Taipei Railway Station, where the campaign has a permit for a sit-in.
DPP Legislator Lin Kuo-ching (林國慶), however, told a press conference yesterday that Shih actually was having a late-night snack in the WeGo Motel that night.
Lin said he based his accusation on information provided by a man who gave his surname as Tsai.
Lin said Tsai had provided him with his full name, telephone number, address and ID number and was willing to be a witness and bear legal responsibility.
"I saw Shih for a few seconds between 3am and 4am [on Wed-nesday]. I saw him getting out of a BMW car and stroking his hair," Tsai said during a telephone call that Lin made to him from the press conference.
Tsai said his conscience made him reveal what he had seen when he saw anti-Chen protesters on TV complaining they were left alone by the anti-Chen camp during the police's dispersal operation.
Tsai, a deliveryman for a Shanghainese restaurant, said he went to WeGo that night to help deliver food the motel had ordered.
"Tsai told me that after catching the glimpse of Shih he had asked a motel employee why Shih was there," Lin said, "The staffer told him that `they were having midnight snacks.'"
Shih dismissed the allegation and said he would sue Lin for slander.
"Where is the WeGo Motel? ... I didn't realize that I have a `split body' like Sung Chi-li (
Shih said he had not left the protest area except to take a rest in his van around 2am to 3am.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih