Thu, Apr 09, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Huang agrees to passport check

CONSENTThe Kaohsiung City councilor authorized the judiciary to ask that the American Institute in Taiwan answer questions about his alleged US citizenship

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Kaohsiung City Councilor Huang Shao-ting (黃紹庭) yesterday signed an agreement authorizing the judiciary to check with US authorities on whether he possesses a valid US passport.

Accompanied by his lawyers, Huang signed the agreement at the Kaohsiung branch of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau.

Prosecutors said that with the agreement, they would soon ask the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to clarify whether Huang is a US citizen or when he had renounced his US citizenship if he had ever possessed it.

Last Wednesday Kaohsiung prosecutors launched an investigation into allegations that Huang traveled to the US on a US passport in 2007.

Huang was elected in late 2006. His position as secretary-general of the KMT caucus at the council was suspended following the allegations.

The Nationality Act (國籍法) prohibits government officials from holding dual citizenship and obliges those with a second nationality to renounce it before being sworn in. The act also requires that they present proof within one year of assuming office that they have renounced their second citizenship.

Prosecutors summoned Huang for questioning on Tuesday during which Huang said he had renounced his US passport and agreed to comply with the prosecutors’ investigation.

However, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) told a press conference at the council on Tuesday morning that her sources said Huang applied for a US green card on Feb. 20, 2001, and the serial number of his green card was A047516714. She said her sources told her that Huang obtained his US citizenship after he was elected and his citizenship remained valid as of Monday.

Huang declined to comment on Kuan’s accusation, saying only that the validity of his US citizenship should be determined by AIT.

Head of the Kaohsiung City Council’s Disciplinary Committee Lee Wen-liang (李文良) told reporters yesterday that a meeting had been scheduled for 3pm on April 20 in response to the DPP caucus’ proposal that Huang be suspended and barred from attending council meetings on the grounds that his dual nationality case had “sabotaged the council’s image.”

The proposal initiated by four DPP councilors collected the eight signatures necessary to pass the proposal on Monday.

Lee, a DPP councilor, said the committee would invite Huang to attend the meeting in his capacity as a concerned party, and not as a member of the committee.

The council’s disciplinary regulations make it unlikely that the committee would suspend Huang, however the committee could discipline a councilor by having a councilor issue an oral apology, a written apology, issue a councilor a warning or prohibit a councilor from attending council meetings for a period of time.

Additional reporting by Rich Chang

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