DPP to probe gangster links in party poll

POWER BROKERS::Most DPP members said they would not believe the allegations of gangsters being brought in to influence the vote until they see solid evidence

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said it would investigate alleged mafia involvement in the party after rumors that elections at the weekend were marred by organized crime.

Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤), one of 30 Central Executive Committee (CEC) members elected on Sunday in Taipei, said local gangsters in the south were brought in to influence the elections for the CEC and the Central Standing Committee (CSC), which consists of 10 members selected from the 30 CEC members.

Hung called for Greater Kaohsiung-based Lee Ching-fu (李清福), one of 10 elected CSC members, to resign from his new post because he was sentenced to six years in prison in his second trial for taking bribes when he served as chief of Ciaotou Township (橋頭) from 1994 to 1998.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told reporters yesterday afternoon that he had never heard of the alleged involvement of organized crime and evidence should be presented along with accusations.

“I’m not someone who insists that family quarrels must be settled behind closed doors. If there is something wrong, we will deal with it,” he said.

The allegation has cast a shadow over Sunday’s elections at the party’s national congress, which were supposed to form the new power structure for the next two years, with new CEC and CSC members.

While Hung followed up his accusation with a pledge that he would soon submit evidence of mafia involvement in the elections in a series of messages posted on his Facebook page yesterday, most DPP members said they would not believe the allegations until solid evidence had been disclosed.

“I don’t believe it. However, if there is a rumor, the DPP might as well conduct an investigation,” former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said.

“There have been many DPP officials and members indicted for corruption in the past who were eventually proved innocent. Those cases were proved to be judicial persecution, so we should not jump to conclusions,” former Tainan County commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said about Hung’s accusation against Lee Ching-fu.

DPP New Taipei City (新北市) office director Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that all candidates for the elections, including Lee, were screened by a review committee and their right to participate in the election should not be taken away until future developments proved otherwise.

In related news, DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), who was elected as a CEC member on Sunday, abruptly announced her resignation yesterday on her Facebook page.

Chiu, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, said the decision was not related to her health, but that she wanted to focus on her job as a legislator.

Under DPP regulations, Deputy Kaohsiung Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) will fill in as Chiu’s replacement.

Liu failed to make the top 30 list in the CEC election by one vote.