Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Universiade flag confiscations spark lawsuit against Ko

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Leaders of Taiwanese independence groups yesterday said they would follow through on judicial proceedings after they filed a lawsuit against Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) over incidents in which flags and banners displaying the word “Taiwan” were confiscated by security personnel and people were denied entry to events during the Taipei Summer Universiade last month.

The groups filed the suit at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Monday, saying their freedom of expression and civil liberties had been breached.

Peter Wang (王獻極), convener of the 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign; Tsay Ting-kuei (蔡丁貴), convener of the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan; Peter Ku (古文發), chairman of the Taiwan Independence Party; and Huang Kuo-hua (黃國華), chairman of the Taiwan Government Party, led supporters in shouting slogans denouncing Ko.

Their accusations included: “White Power has turned into White Terror,” while they said Ko should “not hide in his shell like a turtle.”

Wang showed the gathering a stub as evidence he had purchased a ticket for the Universiade’s closing ceremony on Aug. 30.

“However, police searched me, took away my Taiwanese flags and even tried to prevent me from entering the venue,” he said.

“It did not only happen on that day, but such things were going on throughout the Universiade,” Wang said. “Ko gave orders to security personnel to stop people from bringing flags or banners displaying anything regarding Taiwan. They confiscated the flags and banners carried by us and other spectators, then insulted us by throwing them into trash cans.”

Wang said that he and others like him would not take such a grave insult lying down.

They brought the lawsuit “to uphold the dignity of all Taiwanese, and to protect our freedom and civil liberties in a democratic society,” he said.

Seating for spectators belongs to the public and they have freedom of expression in those areas, Tsay said, adding that as such, those areas are out of bounds for restrictions imposed by Taipei police or security personnel.

“They forcefully confiscated our flags and banners, which were treated like trash,” Tsay said. “They acted like thieves, looting our belongings. We cannot let Ko get away with such unlawful acts, because he was the one who gave the orders.”

Chilly Chen (陳峻涵), 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign office director, said it seemed that Ko was kowtowing to the Chinese Communist Party by suppressing symbols of Taiwanese identity.

Prosecutors should investigate the case against Ko so the mayor would have to explain his actions in court, Chen said.

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