Hsieh accuses Ma camp of smear tactics

SCANDALS: The Chinese Nationalist Party said that Frank Hsieh's allegations of plots to implicate him in more corruption cases were an attempt to distract public attention

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Fri, Jul 20, 2007 - Page 3

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday of plotting to blacken his name by setting up a task force aimed at exposing alleged scandals involving him using information leaked by prosecutors.

Asked to comment on DPP legislators' claims that the KMT has set up such a team, Hsieh said he had heard of it and that the group's objective was to smear his reputation to shift public attention away from KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) trial.

"It's normal for other political parties to want me to lose the presidential election, but prosecutors should not be involved in the KMT's conspiracy," Hsieh said while visiting a textile company in Sinjhuang.

Hsieh said that the "Kaohsiung team" planned to leak some information about corruption allegations against him to shift the focus away from Ma's corruption trial.

"I heard that the `Kaohsiung team' was headed by a person surnamed King. You all can see if what I said comes true next Monday," he said.

KMT spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the party would file a lawsuit against Hsieh if he failed to prove that the person he referred to was a member of Ma's camp.

"They're all baseless accusations. I think Hsieh doesn't believe in his own innocence, and so he's trying to shift the [public] focus by creating other issues," Su said, adding that accusing other candidates was a tactic Hsieh's office has used during every election.

"The public is not that easily fooled. We urge Hsieh's camp not to drag others into his own mess," Su said.

Ma's spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) acknowledged later yesterday that Ma's office and the KMT caucus did have a plan to form a special task force, but he said its aim was to review Hsieh's performance as Kaohisung mayor and not to defame him.

Earlier in the day, DPP Legislator Wang Tuoh (王拓) and two DPP city councilors told a press conference that the KMT task force was headed by former Taipei deputy mayor King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) -- a long-time aide to Ma.

Based on a letter they said they had obtained from an investigator, they said King and some KMT city councilors have been studying five alleged scandals. Wang quoted the letter as saying that the documents were given to the team by prosecutors Lo Chien-hsun (羅建勛) and Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠).

"The documents are supposed to be confidential. How were they able to get them?" DPP Kaohsiung City Councilor Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) said. "Would King dare do this without Ma's approval?"