Thu, Dec 20, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Entertainers take Pai Ping-ping to court

CELEBRITY SPLIT:The entertainers bringing the lawsuit accuse Pai Ping-ping of fraud and dubious accounting, while her supporters said the affair is just a misunderstanding

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A group of veteran actors and celebrities have accused entertainer and national policy advisor Pai Ping-ping (白冰冰) of fraud, illegal use of a government subsidy, falsifying documents and violating the Business Accounting Act (商業會計法).

Headed by Kuo Mei-chu (郭美珠), a veteran actress who made her name in Taiwanese opera and on variety shows, and accompanied by lawyer Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), the group filed a lawsuit against Pai at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday.

Kuo was supported by a number of other veteran entertainers who said they were victims of Pai’s alleged pocketing of a NT$19.5 million (US$670,000) government subsidy intended for producing episodes of a TV variety show featuring their work, saying they did not receive the wages shown on receipts submitted by Pai.

Pai’s production company was in charge of making 120 episodes of TV variety show Ha Ha Laughing Every Day (天天哈哈笑), and the entertainers accused her of diverting a sizable portion of the government subsidy for the show into her own accounts.

Tsai said there is evidence that Pai falsified receipts for producing the TV show.

He said that documents submitted by Pai had been examined, revealing many discrepancies between the amounts of expenses listed and actual expenditure.

Actor Kan Shui-yuan (闞水源), who worked on the show, said that when he received his wages for an appearance on the program, the total amount column was left blank, meaning Pai and the production company could make false claims on wage payments.

An official at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said that the case will be handled by the prosecutor in charge of the civil crimes division.

Pai did not return calls from reporters and turned off her mobile phone yesterday.

The scandal has split Taiwan’s entertainment industry into two opposing camps. Those who support Pai, including Shen Yu-lin (沈玉琳) and Bao Wei-ming (包偉銘), met with her for dinner on Monday.

Dismissing the allegations as a misunderstanding, supporters and friends of Pai say they do not believe the accusations.

At the dinner, Pai said: “I am not afraid of underworld gangsters, I am only afraid of society becoming like the underworld. Along with Kuo Mei-chu, Kan Shui-yuan, Tian Lu-lu (田路路) and others, I invited these entertainers to appear on TV programs in the past, and now they come back and accuse me of wrongdoing. This really hurts me.”

Besides filing the lawsuit, Kuo and her lawyer are also petitioning the Ministry of Culture to conduct an investigation into the affair, alleging that Pai has stolen a large sum of money and falsified accounting documents.

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