Fri, Jun 12, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ko slams Chinese money invested in MRT advertising

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) should not “equivocate” (睜眼說瞎話) about Chinese investment in advertising on the capital’s MRT system, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

The management of the corporation — which is 73.75 percent owned by the Taipei City Government — came under fire during cross-examination at the Taipei City Council.

Taipei City Councilor Wang Wei-chung (王威中) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) criticized the corporation for awarding the Taiwan Asia Ray Advertising Company (台灣雅仕維廣告公司) a contract to advertise at Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興) MRT Station.

He said the firm’s Hong Kong-based parent company, Asiaray Media Group Limited (雅仕維傳媒集團), was clearly affiliated with Beijing, citing public corporate documents listing all board members as Chinese citizens, as well as media reports stating that board chairman Lin Dexing (林德興) served on the People’s Political Consultative Conference of Yunnan Province.

Despite being shown evidence of the corporation’s connections, TRTC failed to even offer an explanation, he said.

TRTC CEO Sun Yi-chun (孫以濬) said that his firm’s contract with Asiaray had been approved by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which is responsible for monitoring foreign investment.

His remarks drew a sharp response from Ko, who said that Sun should not “equivocate” about the firm’s affiliation. Ko said Sun was responsible for using his own judgement on the affiliation of the firm and should not “pass the buck” to the ministry.

No decision was made about the future of the corporation’s contract with Asiaray.

In related news, funds from the TRTC’s annual NT$11 million (US$352,994) public relations budget came under criticism from DPP Taipei City Councilor Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜).

While the firm’s accounts list half of the budget as having been spent on “employee compensation,” there was evidence that at least some of the funds had been redirected toward inappropriate gifts, she said, citing a report by another city councilor who had received NT$6,000 in gift certificates from firm officials at a year-end party.

Ko said the firm should provide detailed accounts for its expenditure, adding that the money should not be spent if employees did not “dare” to give a clear account.

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