Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Councilor under fire over nationality

PROOF The Kaohsiung City councilor sent reporters a text message insisting that he had renounced his US citizenship but did not answer when or where he did so

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party Kaohsiung City Councilor Cheng Kuan-feng (鄭光峰) yesterday urged Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Councilor Huang Shao-ting (黃紹庭) to present proof that he had renounced his US citizenship.

“He should act like a man and show us documents to clarify the matter,” Cheng told reporters at the council.

Huang was unavailable for comment yesterday, but he issued a text message to reporters late on Wednesday night, saying he had completed the procedure to give up his US citizenship.

Huang did not specify when, where or how he renounced his US citizenship nor did he present any proof backing his claim.

KMT Kaohsiung City Councilor Tong Yen-chen (童燕珍) yesterday said that Huang had told caucus members that he no longer possessed valid US citizenship, and that caucus members had asked him to publicly clarify the matter.

Huang, secretary-general of the council's KMT caucus, is facing a prosecutorial investigation into an allegation that he used his US passport to leave and return to Taiwan on a trip to the US in 2007.

Huang, 39, was elected at the end of 2006.

The Nationality Act (國籍法) prohibits public officials from holding dual nationality and obliges those who have foreign citizenship to present documents within one year of assuming office to prove they have lost their other citizenship.

If the allegation proved true, Huang could lose his seat.

Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chuang Chi-wang (莊啟旺) of the KMT was forced to announce on Wednesday his decision to launch a probe into the citizenship status of all councilors and to comply with prosecutors' investigations.

“As members of the caucus, we have all urged him to explain the matter to the public as soon as possible. After all, it is impossible [for foreign nationals] to hide,” Tong said.

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