Media personality Huang Kuang-chin (黃光芹) and former Democratic Progressive Party legislator Lai Kun-cheng (賴坤成) yesterday sued Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) for defamation, after the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate filed a similar lawsuit against them.
Huang and Lai, who filed the lawsuit at the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, said that they had taken legal action because Han had first sued them.
The duo accused Han of making malicious accusations during his campaign rally last month, telling the crowd that “the majority of pundits have accepted dirty money.”
“It was a serious accusation,” Lai said. “Han did not name those taking dirty money, but then he sued me and Huang, which meant he was referring to us.”
Lai said that before discussing political issues as guests on TV talk shows or posting messages about Han online, he and Huang check their facts and justifications for their statements.
“We told the public about Han’s history, some of his more unsavory aspects and his wayward activities,” Lai said.
“Han knew these had taken place, but he felt that he was being put down and disgraced in public,” he said.
“So Han used the courts to try to seal our mouths and keep the public from knowing his past,” he added.
Huang, a veteran journalist and television pundit, wrote a biography of Han titled Walking With the Moon (跟著月亮走), which was published in January.
However, the two had a falling out after the publication because of disputes over proceeds from book sales and copyright issues.
On Oct. 7, Han filed seven lawsuits against Huang with the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office: four for public insult and three on aggravated defamation charges, claiming that she made false accusations in a series of articles.
Huang said that she has received threats of physical violence against her and her child by people claiming to be Han’s fans.
She said that having worked for decades as a journalist and written articles critical of prominent political figures, it was the first time that her personal safety has been endangered.
In her guest appearances on TV and articles, Huang has said that photographs showing Han drinking at night clubs were not the full story, but that he was also entertained by female hostesses at the clubs.
Huang said that other talk shows and media outlets have made similar allegations and that some have even said that they have photographic evidence.
“Han’s lawsuit against me is a form of blackmail, telling me and other pundits to shut up and refrain from criticizing him, not to mention his past disreputable deeds,” Huang said.
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