Mon, Feb 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Minister of Justice defends herself over pair of gaffes

CLOSE UP AND PERSONALDuring Lunar New Year celebrations at Taichung Prison, Wang Ching-feng told inmates to hug the state prosecutor-general

By Flora Wang and Hsiang Cheng-chen  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Minister Of Justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) said yesterday that she would comply with the findings of investigations being carried out by the Control Yuan regarding recent gaffes.

When asked for comment during a visit to Ilan, Wang defended herself against criticisms of her remark at an administrative meeting on Thursday that Taichung Prison’s Lunar New Year celebrations had been so successful that the prison should consider holding the event at a different venue — even though there was a risk that some of the prisoners might escape.

Wang had urged staffers at the ministry to delete the comment from the minutes of the meeting just after she made it, but news of the comment spread quickly among members of the judicial system.


Wang said she was simply expressing her trust in the prisoners and her confidence in prison officials’ ability to move prisoners safely. She added that if any prisoner did escape before finishing their sentence, she was confident they would be captured and returned to jail.

Wang also defended herself when questioned about a blunder on Jan. 21.

During the Lunar New Year celebrations at Taichung Prison, Wang encouraged the prisoners to hug State Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明), saying that they might be granted parole if they did so.

Wang conceded yesterday that the remark had been inappropriate, but said in her defense that she was simply trying to bring ministry officials and the prisoners closer together during the event.


A few ministry officials have complained that Wang often makes blunders. A Control Yuan member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Control Yuan had received e-mails regarding Wang’s gaffes, some of which even contained video clips of the incidents taken from YouTube.

Another Control Yuan member, who wished not to be named, said the minister’s remarks during the celebrations at the jail could have had the opposite effect on prisoners to that which she had intended.

Another Control Yuan member, who also wished to remain anonymous, said it would be difficult to categorize and investigate Wang’s blunders.

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