Sun, Aug 19, 2007 - Page 3 News List

KMT rebuts report of pressure on Hou

`RIDICULOUS' The `United Daily News' claimed that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng had been asked to urge the prosecutor not to appeal in Ma's court case

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday rebutted a media report that party officials asked Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), a distant relative of Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen (侯寬仁), to press Hou not to appeal the ruling in the corruption case against KMT presidential candidate and former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Hou was in charge of the prosecution against Ma, who was accused of embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000) from his special mayoral allowance fund during his eight-year tenure as Taipei mayor from 1998 to last year.

Ma was indicted in February, at which point he resigned from his post as KMT chairman, and was found not guilty by the Taipei District Court on Tuesday.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office on Friday decided to appeal the ruling, taking the case to the High Court.

The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday reported that, in an effort to prevent the prosecutors from appealing the ruling, KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) told KMT caucus whip Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) to visit Wang on Thursday night and ask him to dissuade Hou from taking the case to the High Court.

Wu yesterday accused party members of spreading rumors and emphasized that he did not seek to have Wang contact Hou.

"No such thing took place and I told Wang that I don't know where this [rumor] came from," Wu said yesterday after attending a Taipei funeral service for Combined Service Force general former Wen Ha-hsiung (溫哈熊).

Wang, who was also at the service, said Hou was a distant relative and the two had never spoken, adding that he would never contact Hou to press him over the case.

"It's ridiculous ... Whoever spread this rumor to the media must have had malicious intentions," he said.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said that the party would never pressure a prosecutor and emphasized that no top officials in the party had asked Wang to press Hou.

Ma yesterday said he was not surprised by the prosecutors' decision to launch an appeal.

"There's little to worry about, because we are well-prepared for future debates. I think it's the best way to respond to their appeal," Ma said yesterday during a trip to Tainan County.

He declined to comment on the United Daily News report.

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