Wed, Oct 09, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Legislators reject justice ministry’s wiretap request

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday rejected a request by the Ministry of Justice that a telephone number used as a switchboard operator in the legislature be tapped as a test to help it clarify doubts over a case in which the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office is accused of conducting telephone surveillance on the legislature.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) condemned the ministry for making the “absurd” request.

“How is it not different from the ministry actually tapping the legislature’s telephone?” Lu said.

Lu said that lawmakers of all parties unanimously rejected the request after they first heard about it at a cross-party negotiation meeting.

The ministry sent a document to the legislature on Monday seeking its assistance, because the investigation into the wiretapping of telephone number 0972-630-235, one of seven lines used by the legislature as switchboard operators, is underway.

In response to the allegation made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) that the SID had monitored all inbound and outbound telephone calls placed through that switchboard number for four months, the SID has claimed that it had failed to record any conversations from tapping the line because it was a telephony cost-saving system.

Ker has questioned the SID’s claim, saying the press release issued by the SID on Sept. 6 regarding its charge that Ker was involved in improper influence-peddling to have his legal case dropped has disproved the SID’s statement.

The transcript of the wiretapped telephone conversations between Ker and his aid surnamed Hu showed that when Ker answered a telephone call made by Hu on June 26, the telephone number Hu used was 0972-630-235, rather than the legislature’s official switchboard number — (02) 2358-58 58.

According to the legislature, outgoing calls placed through all the legislature’s switchboard operators showed the number as (02) 2358-58 58, Ker said. Therefore, if the SID had not tapped the line 0972-630-235, that number would not have showed when Hu made a telephone call to him, he added.

DPP Legislator You Mei-nu (尤美女) said yesterday that the ministry should have demanded an explanation from the SID about the wiretapping instead of asking the legislature to assist its investigation into the case.

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