Thu, Dec 28, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Reaction mixed to convictions of Chen's in-laws

By Flora Wang and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Presidential Office yesterday said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) respected the court ruling on his son-in-law and the decision of his defense lawyer to appeal.

Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) said Chen was concerned about the case but respected the judicial decision.

Given that the president's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), was not a member of the Presidential Office, Liu said she was not in a position to comment on the ruling.

Others were more willing to comment.

While saying that he respected the ruling, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said it was "strange" for prosecutors to cite an excerpt from the work of philosopher Chuang Tzu (莊子) and compare Chao to "influential officials" in the indictments.

"As a lawyer for such a long time, this is the first time I've seen things like this," he said.

Hsu said that it was possible that the verdicts had been influenced by public opinion against Chao.

DPP Secretary-General Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told press yesterday afternoon that the party's Central Executive Committee did not spend much time discussing the matter during its weekly meeting yesterday because the news came in late.

Opposition politicians wasted no time in lambasting the DPP.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) slammed the DPP for failing to prevent its members from getting involved in corruption and urged KMT members to maintain their integrity and fight corruption.

"We need to have the political will to insist on running the country with integrity and to fight against corruption. With will, there comes with resources and help," Ma said during a meeting of the KMT's Central Standing Committee held at the Panchiao Farmer's Association.

KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said the court had made "a praiseworthy decision" to declare Chao and his father Chao Yu-chu (趙玉柱) guilty.

Tsai said there was still concern, however, that the president and the DPP might attempt to influence the judiciary in the appeals process.

People First Party (PFP) spokesman Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) demanded the president apologize for the crime Chao and his father committed.

"The felony was committed because of the association with the president. Chen owes the public an apology in terms of his moral responsibility," Lee said.

PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said the sentences were too light.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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