Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) brother-in-law yesterday defended his family’s gravel business, saying that many reports about his father were “fake news” designed to defame him.
“The seriously erroneous and false reports have defamed my father and I would like to urge President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to help put an end to such fake news, as she has vowed to fight disinformation nationwide,” Yunlin County Councilor Lee Ming-che (李明哲) told a news conference in the county.
Some media outlets have deliberately portrayed his father, Lee Jih-kuei (李日貴), who was a Yunlin County councilor between 1991 and 2003, as “an overbearing man who abused government power,” Lee Ming-che said.
New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) on Friday last week said that Datong Gravel Co, owned by Lee Jih-kuei, allegedly obtained control of more than 1 hectare of public land near the Jhuoshui River (濁水溪) in 2000 after then-legislator Han, now the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, lobbied for NT$6.8 million (US$222,892 at the current exchange rate) to build an embankment that helped “fence off” of area used for the family’s gravel excavation operations.
On Sunday, local media reported that Yunlin County Council’s meeting minutes in 1992 showed that Lee Jih-kuei said at a question-and-answer session that “my Mainlander son-in-law [Han] decided to run for legislator after watching for two months the way I am making money.”
Certain media outlets interpreted the remarks as meaning that Han had aimed to become legislator after seeing the way that Lee had abused his power to make money, Lee Ming-che said.
In reality, Lee Jih-kuei meant that Han wanted to be a legislator to resolve problems in the gravel industry, he said.
To prove his point, Lee Ming-che provided copies of more meeting minutes from the session, which showed Lee Jih-kuei rejecting allegations that he was running a highly profitable gravel business with help from local authorities shortly before mentioning Han.
However, the minutes also quoted Lee Jih-kuei as criticizing, in vulgar terms, then-Changhua County commissioner Chou Ching-yu (周清玉) for banning all gravel excavation in the county.
Calling Chou a “crazy woman who randomly attacks people with a stick,” like a teacher who would “punish the entire class for one student’s mistake,” Lee Jih-kuei said that if he had been running his gravel business in Changhua, “I would catch that woman and take off her pants.”
Lee Ming-che read from prepared remarks and did not take any questions.
Asked about the news conference, Han said that the reports about Lee Jih-kuei’s gravel business has greatly disturbed the family.
“Lee Ming-che has explained everything very clearly, and I believe people will understand the frustration and sadness he is going through,” Han told reporters at a campaign event in Chiayi County.
Additional reporting by CNA
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