Mon, Sep 09, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Wiretapping of officials common practice: legislators

By Tseng Wei-chen and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Following revelations that Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) prosecutors unexpectedly stumbled upon alleged influence-peddling involving former minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) while monitoring Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Ker Chien-ming’s (柯建銘) mobile phone, lawmakers on Saturday said that many of them had been wiretapped in the past and that it would be odd if someone of Ker’s stature was not wiretapped.

DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said that the public would not feel safe if even Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) could be wiretapped.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said that her brother, Chiu Ming-chang (邱名璋), was also wiretapped while running for Pingtung County councilor.

“Anyone who lived during the White Terror era knows that the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] wiretaps people,” Chiu Yi-ying said.

CONSCIENCE

Chiu Yi-ying said that no matter how laws are changed, the government would always have the power to wiretap its citizens, adding that whether people were wiretapped depends on how democratic the government in power was, and how much of a conscience it has.

KMT Legislator Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) also said that the SID was out of line.

“It always said it did not wiretap [anyone], but in truth they have been doing just that. I find it unbelievable that it would use such a method [to investigate cases],” Ma said.

KMT Legislator Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) said that because some of his constituents would say directly over the telephone: “Help me do this and I’ll give you [X] amount of cash,” he was afraid the SID might take such calls seriously.

WARNING

To warn these callers, he said he has recorded a message that said: “This telephone conversation is being recorded, please be mindful of your words,” to be played whenever people call.

Lin Ming-chen said he wondered whether the SID had wiretapped Ker first, heard something suspicious, then applied for a wiretap warrant from the court to cover its tracks and make its surveillance legal after the fact.

He added that he hoped that the judiciary would respect human rights and not overreact by wiretapping everyone.

KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said that if the SID had not obtained a warrant from the court prior to wiretapping Ker’s phone, such actions fell under the definition of “White Terror,” but that if it had first obtained a warrant, then it was legal.

KMT Legislator Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏) said that he was also under surveillance, adding that surveillance was acceptable as long as it followed the law.

Additional reporting by Chen Yen-ting and Chen Feng-li

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