Thu, Apr 02, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung City Council to check citizenship status

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-wang (莊啟旺) vowed yesterday to probe the citizenship status of all city councilors after the Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office launched an investigation into a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) councilor.

“Every caucus should explain the rules clearly to its members,” Chuang told reporters. “We will also conduct a thorough [probe] to see if any other councilors are violators.”

The Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office opened an investigation into Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Shao-ting (黃紹庭) after Huang reportedly used a US passport to leave and return to Taiwan on a trip to the US in 2007.

Huang, now secretary-general of the city council’s KMT caucus, was elected at the end of 2006.

The Nationality Act (國籍法) bans public officials from holding dual citizenship and requires that those who have foreign citizenship present documents within one year of assuming office to prove they have given up their other citizenships.

Chuang said prosecutors sent the council an official request last week for information on whether Huang had signed an affidavit that he did not possess dual citizenship.

They also asked for his salary details, Chuang said.

City councilors only take an oath of allegiance when they are sworn in and the oath does not include anything about dual citizenship, Chuang said. They were not required to sign an affidavit when assuming office, he said.

But Chuang, who is also a KMT member, said the council would comply with prosecutors’ investigation, adding that it was up to the central government and the Kaohsiung City Election Commission to determine if Huang had violated the Nationality Act.

Huang, 39, was not available for comment yesterday, but he told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Tuesday night that he was very surprised to learn of the investigation.

Huang said he used his US passport because of “work” before he won the 2006 election, but that he had followed the law since becoming a councilor.

KMT Kaohsiung City Councilor Tong Yen-chen (童燕珍) urged Huang to face the investigation honestly, while Democratic Progressive Party Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Shu-mei (黃淑美) said the KMT should “stop deceiving voters like this.”

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