A trial began yesterday at the Taipei District Court in the libel suit Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) filed against award-winning screenwriter and author Neil Peng (馮光遠).
The lawsuit centers on comments Peng made about King’s personal relationship with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Peng told reporters outside the court that he does not fear the lawsuit, adding: “King has enjoyed great political power because of his sexual relationship with Ma.”
“Come out of the closet, Ma,” he said.
During the hearing, Peng told the court that King has directed government policies and personnel changes unrelated to the government posts he has held.
King has no experience in foreign affairs, but was appointed representative to the US, and now he has been named as a national security advisor without any background in this field, Peng told the judges.
“Taiwan is a country led by two people who are in a special sexual relationship,” Peng said, adding that Ma and King have jeopardized Taiwan’s democracy, which was established by generations of Taiwanese.
Peng told the court that his comments about King have all been made publicly and should be protected by law.
In postings on his blog and Facebook page Peng has written: “We are about to have a public discussion about whether President Ma Ying-jeou is a closet homosexual and how their [his and King’s] relationship, which people have speculated about for years, has affected Taiwan’s democracy.”
In response to a question from a lawmaker during a legislative session in December last year, which King was attending in his role as representative to the US, King said he was not gay and was not in a relationship with Ma.
King, 57, has long been seen as Ma’s closest aide. He served as deputy Taipei mayor during the last two years of Ma’s term as mayor, Ma appointed him Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general in 2008 and he was executive director of Ma’s re-election campaign office for the 2012 presidential election.
Ma has reportedly picked him to be the next secretary-general of the National Security Council.
In an unrelated trial, the Shilin District Court yesterday ruled against the Chinese-language Next Magazine in a libel suit brought by Chiayi Mayor Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠).
The magazine’s Nov. 16, 2011, edition said that Ma had met with bookie Chen Ying-chu (陳盈助) in Chiayi in September 2011, while campaigning in the city for the 2012 election, through an introduction by Huang, who is a KMT member.
The story said Ma had asked Chen, who allegedly runs major underground betting in election-related activities for local elections, for a donation of NT$300 million (US$9.9 million).
The Shilin District Court ruled that Next must pay Huang NT$200,000 in compensation, although the magazine can appeal yesterday’s ruling to the Taiwan High Court.
Ma and Chen also filed lawsuits over the magazine story. The president filed a defamation suit against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its spokesperson for alleging that he had met with Chen to raise campaign funds, while Chen sued Next.
Additional reporting by staff writer