The Taiwan High Court yesterday ruled in a civil suit against the man who pulled off Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi’s (邱毅) toupee and then boasted about the incident on his name cards, saying he needed to issue a public apology in the nation’s main newspapers.
In December 2008 in front of the Control Yuan, Huang Yung-tien (黃永田) — a supporter of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) — grabbed Chiu’s hair piece as Chiu was initiating impeachment proceedings against Judge Chou Chan-chun (周占春) for his decision to release Chen from detention.
Huang printed a photograph of himself snatching the toupee on name cards he used when running for city councilor in Tainan in April last year.
In his defense against the civil suit Chiu filed against him, Huang said he did not defame Chiu because whether a person is good or bad looking has nothing to do with the person’s personality and reputation.
The court, however, ruled that Huang had jeopardized Chiu’s reputation on the grounds that Chiu looked shocked and embarrassed in the photo, which would be enough to cause negative comments about Chiu and harm his reputation.
In addition to the apology, the court also ruled that Huang should compensate Chiu NT$300,000. He can still appeal the verdict.
Previously, Huang received a five-month sentence in a criminal trial at the Taiwan High Court for snatching Chiu’s toupee. He paid a NT$150,000 fine in lieu of the prison sentence.
In other news, KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday lost a slander suit she filed with the Taiwan High Court against former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃).
Hung in 2006 said on a TV talk show that then-premier Yu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was “inferior to a dog.” Yu filed a slander suit with Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office and Hung was indicted.
The Taipei District Court in July 2007 ruled Hung not guilty.
Yu appealed and commented that “Hung’s remark is like a crazy woman cursing at people on the streets. Her behavior is a detriment to our next generation, our education and our society.”
Hung then filed a slander suit against Yu, demanding Yu apologize in major newspapers.
Yesterday’s ruling noted that the Taiwan High Court in March 2008 overruled the lower court’s ruling and decided that Hung was guilty because of her “dog” remark, so it was reasonable for Yu to defend himself.
The ruling added although Yu’s remark was exaggerated, it was still an expression of free speech. The ruling can still be appealed.