Sat, May 22, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Civic group accuses investigators of harassment

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Homemakers’ Union and Foundation yesterday accused the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB) of harassing its officials after the foundation launched a signature drive for a referendum on the controversial issue of US beef imports.

Officials from the Homemakers’ Union and Foundation protested against the MJIB’s actions outside the Ministry of Justice in Taipei yesterday afternoon.

Mary Chen (陳曼麗), a foundation board member, said an MJIB agent surnamed Wu phoned the secretary of the foundation’s Taichung branch, Lin Shu (林淑), a few days ago asking her about the progress of the signature drive.

Chen said Wu also visited the Taichung branch on May 7 to learn about the branch’s activities and asked them to hand over information about the signature drive.

Chen added that MJIB agents had also visited the foundation’s Kaohsiung branch a few times to inquire about the progress of the signature drive.

“The MJIB’s investigations into the activities of civic groups are the kind of thing that went on during the White Terror, so it appears that the nation’s human rights have taken a step backwards,” Chen said.

Lin said she was terrified that MJIB agent Wu was able to get her cellphone number and call her. She said later that Wu’s cellphone number had disappeared from her cellphone record.

MJIB chief secretary Wu Li-chen (吳莉貞) said yesterday that she had visited the foundation to apologize for the agent’s behavior, adding that the bureau has banned such activities.

The Homemakers’ Union and Foundation has been working with the Consumers’ Foundation and the John Tung Foundation as well as other groups since November to collect signatures supporting a referendum on reopening talks with Washington about US beef imports. The signature drive continues.

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