Fri, Nov 06, 2009 - Page 3 News List

DPP questions premier’s links to felon

REFORMED CHARACTER? Convicted gangster Chiang Ching-liang said he had paid his debt to society and was now an ordinary man trying to make an honest living

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday questioned links between Nantou’s county chief, the premier and a convicted felon.

Premier Wu Den-yih’s (吳敦義) alleged association with a former Nantou County gang boss shows the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) rallying cry for clean governance was nothing but hot air, said DPP Spokesman Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), demanding Wu explain his connections with a twice-convicted murderer or resign from his post.

Local media reported Wu and his wife were caught on camera vacationing in Bali, Indonesia, with Nantou County Magistrate Lee Chao-ching (李朝卿) and Chiang Chin-liang (江欽良), reportedly a crime boss in the county.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said the 43 year-old Chiang was convicted of murder for slaying a Changhua gangster and a Nantou County council member in 1983 and 1985 respectively. He fled from prison in 1989 during a hospital visit and was recaptured a year later, she said, adding that his rap sheet included more than 30 counts of illegal arms sales, extortion, assault and robbery.

In 2000, Chiang was released on early parole from his 20-year sentence and has since dominated the night market scene in Nantou.

While Wu dubbed Chiang a “changed man” who has turned his back on crime and dedicated the last decade of his life to charity work, DPP lawmakers said he was still heavily involved in underground syndicates and that Wu should step down over his links with Chiang.

DPP candidate for the Nantou County commissioner seat Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) also accused Lee Chao-ching of giving favors to Chiang through a monopoly on the gravel business in the county.

“Lee Chao-ching has claimed the Bali trip was purely a fact finding mission to help Nantou develop its tourism. If that was the case, why didn’t he apply for official leave instead of taking the days off as personal vacation time,” Lee Wen-chung said yesterday.

Tsai said Wu should address a rumor that Chiang’s people physically assaulted Non-Partisan Party candidate Chen Chen-sheng (陳振盛) and Chiang’s association with the local gravel industry.

The Ministry of the Interior will never win the fight against crime if the premier is friendly with gangsters, Tsai said.

Lee Chao-ching at a separate press conference yesterday denied all allegations on Chiang’s reported involvement in the gravel business and stressed all Nantou County gravel business tenders are conducted by transparent public bidding.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), Chiang defended himself, saying he had paid his debt to society and is now an ordinary man trying to make an honest living and contribute to his community.

“This whole thing was staged by the DPP as an election maneuver, digging up mistakes I made more than 20 years ago,” he said.

Yesterday, Wu, who usally fields questions from reporters in person, issued a short statement instead.

In the statement, Wu said he has been a person of integrity during his political career of more than 30 years and his activities stand up to scrutiny.

Wu said he considers parolees to be normal people and believes they should receive encouragement and support from society if they sincerely repent.

KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) urged the DPP to present evidence to back its accusations and take the case to court instead of spreading “rumors” to sabotage Wu and Lee Chao-ching.

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