Independent Taipei mayor hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has come under fire from rivals questioning his credentials and inexperience.
“I don’t think blackening my name would help their support rates,” said the National Taiwan University Hospital physician, who is trailing only former Taipei EasyCard Corp president Sean Lien (連勝文) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in public opinion polls conducted on the capital’s mayoral election.
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday raised Ko’s involvement in a corruption case, in which Ko and hundreds of other university professors were indicted on corruption charges for allegedly using false receipts to claim research funds.
Because he “has not even run for a city councilor seat,” Lu also questioned Ko’s ability to lead more than 10,000 Taipei City Government employees and manage an annual budget of more than NT$700 billion (US$23.3 billion).
“[Lu] was a victim under the KMT authoritarian regime in the past, but it seems to me that she is now talking like a bully,” Ko said.
Ko could become the former vice president’s primary rival in the DPP primary if the physician eventually joins the party.
Also joining the fray was KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) who has announced his mayoral bid for the KMT primary, and who raised speculation on Saturday about Ko’s competence.
Ting was referring to an incident in 2011 in which NTU Hospital inadvertently transplanted the organs of an HIV-infected donor into five organ recipients. Ko was the leader of the hospital’s organ donation project.
Meanwhile the physician, who has been known for his one-liners and quick wit, also appeared to have landed himself in trouble of his own making.
Lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), also an aspirant candidate for the DPP’s Taipei primary, said yesterday morning that he would welcome Ko joining the DPP.
Ko responded by saying Koo’s comment did not carry any weight and that he could not care less about Koo, because the lawyer “is not on the same level as the one I should be talking to about joining the DPP.”
“The man that I should be talking to is DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), not him,” Ko said.