A brawl broke out between an 81-year-old Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member and a 58-year-old supporter of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Chiayi County on Wednesday, with both claiming that the other one initiated the violence.
The incident took place at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Chiayi when 81-year-old Liu Ting-kun (劉丁昆) arrived at the outpatient service area, sat down and began chatting with taxi driver Kuo An-pang (郭安邦), who had dropped off a passenger at the hospital.
According to Liu, the fight started after he declined Kuo’s request to support DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) bid for the presidency and DPP legislative candidate Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), and also rejected Kuo’s remarks that monthly subsidies for elderly farmers were a product of DPP efforts.
“Kuo lost his temper and started hitting me, causing me to receive several minor injuries to my head and a minor concussion, as well as having to get three stitches to a cut in my left palm,” Liu told a press conference held at the KMT’s Chiayi branch office.
Kuo, on the other hand, said it was Liu who first asked him who he was going to vote for as president, to which he said: “The incompetent should step off the stage.”
Adding that he was upset by Liu’s response that Liu could not vote for “one who wears a skirt,” Kuo said: “I then said that if everyone thought like that, when the Communists attack Taiwan the people are going to suffer.”
According to Kuo, Liu responded: “What does the life or death of Taiwanese matter to me; my son has three or four houses in the US and I would be flying to the US.”
Kuo said he chided Liu for making remarks contrary to his conscience, “upon which Liu started cursing at me and hitting me on my back.”
“I have received surgery to my spine so I knocked his blow away, causing him to hit the wall and start bleeding,” Kuo said. “I never hit him.”
Liu insisted on pressing charges and Kuo was arrested on allegations of causing bodily harm and interfering with voting.
The KMT’s Chiayi branch office director Huang Yao-jen (黃耀仁) criticized the DPP, calling it a party of violence.
“We call on Tsai Ing-wen to publicly apologize for the incident,” Huang said.
In response, the DPP’s Chiayi branch office director Lin Chiu-kuei (林秋桂) said she was sorry that the incident happened and hoped that all political parties, candidates and supporters face the elections calmly and rationally.
“The KMT should also refrain from causing [unnecessary] confrontation and using isolated incidents to slander [the DPP],” she added.
It later turned out that Kuo’s younger brother, Kuo Ming-pin (郭明賓), is the spokesperson for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign at the KMT’s Chiayi regional headquarters.
Kuo Ming-pin yesterday said the altercation between his brother and Liu was just a misunderstanding and that a settlement between the two would be arranged soon.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer