Two Taipei mayoral hopefuls have united to assemble a voluntary legal team in preparation for potential legal battles against former Taipei EasyCard Co chairman Sean Lien (連勝文).
Lien, who is a son of former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Taipei mayoral hopeful, boasted a strong legal team as part of his campaign office.
Independent candidate Neil Peng (馮光遠), an award-winning screenplay writer, and lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), who is vying for the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) nomination, announced the establishment of what they called the “submarine legal team” of almost 30 lawyers yesterday.
The team’s name, submarine, was in response to Lien calling his legal team his campaign’s “aircraft carrier.”
Lien was quoted as saying that the team would file defamation lawsuits against anyone, including the media, who makes false allegations about his wealth, background and character.
“Our team will defend people who are sued by Lien during the election campaign, so that freedom of speech can be protected,” Peng told a press conference at Jiancheng Circle (建成圓環) market of Datong District (大同), also the location for Lien’s bid announcement on Monday.
Peng and Koo, who will serve as the leader of the team, noted that Lien’s threat of a legal war could violate human rights principles.
Lien is obligated to be scrutinized by the public now that he has officially thrown his hat in the ring, Koo said.
He added that the massive wealth that the Lien family had accumulated despite his father and grandfather’s occupations as public servants was “a public affairs issue rather than a personal issue.”
Sean Lien’s spokesperson, Chin Hui-yuan (秦蕙媛), said he would accept criticism and would only take legal action if an allegation was groundless and seen as “character assassination.”
Meanwhile, Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said that a Chinese university had canceled an invitation for him to speak there.
Ko, a National Taiwan University Hospital surgeon who has expressed his desire to run for the capital’s top post, said that he was invited by Xiamen University’s Taiwan Research Institute to give a speech at the university today and to attend a forum.
However, Ko said he received an e-mail from the institute on Feb. 8 in which his invitation was rescinded. Ko said he was unaware of the reason.
The DPP has listed five potential nominees — former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Koo, lawmakers Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財) and Pasuya Yao (姚文智), and Taipei Council Deputy Speaker Chou Po-ya (周柏雅) for the mayoral election.
Opinion polls since late last year have shown that Ko, who has yet to decide whether to join the DPP, is the front-runner among possible non-KMT candidates.
Additional reporting by CNA