People First Party (PFP) Taipei City Councilor and news show host Mike Wang (王育誠) refused to step down after furious business operators in Songjiang and Xincheng boroughs launched a campaign demanding his resignation and compensation for their financial losses.
Wang on Tuesday made a teary apology at a press conference for falsely accusing six local restaurants of selling or reselling food purchased from funeral parlors. Wang alleged that food brought to funeral parlors by the families of the deceased and left there as offerings were later sold to local restaurants -- an allegation later shown to have been manufactured by the PFP city councilor.
The allegations, which targeted restaurants located in Taipei's Zhongshan District, have led to a sharp decline in business, restaurant operators say.
Business owners jointly signed a petition yesterday, demanding that Wang pay NT$10 million (US$319,400) in compensation and resign from his seat within three days.
As many as 77 business owners signed the petition half an hour after the campaign was launched yesterday, and about 150 business owners are expected to take part. They also plan to call on voters to impeach Wang.
According to Chen Yong-hu (陳永護), the head of Songjiang Borough who launched the campaign yesterday, Wang's false accusations resulted in serious financial losses for local businesses, and he should held accountable for these losses.
"Our businesses have suffered drastically. We have lost most of our customers. [Wang] should resign to take responsibility, and also compensate us for our financial losses," Chen said.
Some people even suggested that local residents stage a protest and throw eggs at Wang's office in order to vent their anger.
"We will give him three days to consider our request. If he refuses to accept it, we will take legal action in order to uphold justice," said Ke Wang-chang (柯萬昌), Xincheng Borough chief.
Wang said he would think about what he had done, but will not give up his councilor seat, because it would be irresponsible to do so.
In two television interviews Wang's mother yesterday begged local residents to forgive her son. She said he made a mistake while attempting to uncover shady goings-on within the city.
In response to the incident, the PFP said on Wednesday they would suspend Wang's party membership.
Also, local broadcaster ETTV announced that Wang's news investigation program will be suspended, adding that Wang himself was responsible for the fraudulent allegations and the station was not involved.
Speculation has circulated that ETTV was involved in the scandal after a video was produced by Song Wen-cheng (宋文正), director of photography for Wang's show. The broadcaster also said that Song had retained his position at the station without pay, after he decided to take a position at Wang's city council office on May 1.