Wed, Aug 31, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Ma accuses Clara Chou of ‘groundless slander’

By Hsiang Cheng-chen and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former president Ma Ying-jeou walks out of the Taiwan High Court in Taipei yesterday after an initial hearing of his appeal against talk show host Clara Chou.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday criticized radio talk host Clara Chou (周玉蔻), saying that she engaged in “groundless and malignant slander” against him.

Ma made the remarks during a hearing on his lawsuit against Chou at the Taiwan High Court in Taipei.

According to Ma, Chou has since December 2014 repeatedly slandered him by claiming on political talk shows that he has accepted NT$200 million (US$6.3 million) from Ting Hsin International Group to cover up a scandal involving edible oils.

Ma said that Chou, through such TV appearances, was able to make NT$1 million.

Having been a civil servant for more than 30 years, Ma said “fiscal integrity” was his life, adding that he could not accept the district court’s ruling that Chou was not culpable and therefore he filed an appeal to the Taiwan High Court.

The courts are a bastion of protection for the freedom of speech, but it should not be a guarantor for the abuse of such liberties, Ma said, adding the Republic of China (ROC) is a nation that is governed by law and should not tolerate the “special few” who are able to slander others without proof.

Chou told reporters after leaving the session that Ma’s speech was very emotional.

“That Ma has turned toward personal insults in court saddens me. I am further surprised that he treats journalism a tool for money. His remarks about me show the naivete and ignorance of Ma in terms of judicial law,” Chou said.

The collegiate bench at the Taiwan High Court yesterday summoned My-Formosa.com vice chairman Wu Tzu-chia (吳子嘉) and former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) for questioning.

Wu said he had evidence that the Ma campaign team received NT$1 billion in political donations from Ting Hsin, adding that the funds were paid to the team and not to Ma.

When asked by Judge Chen Hsiao-pei (陳筱佩) to state his source, Wu said he would rather be fined than reveal his sources.

Hsieh said that the fomer Ma administration should have been more active when the Ting Hsin food scandal broke in 2014.

Hsieh said his feelings regarding such a letdown caused him to hypothesize that if someone took political donations from the company, it would be difficult to carry through the public’s self-imposed ban on Ting Hsin products.

However, Hsieh said his comments were not backed by any evidence.

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