President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) felt “embarrassed” so he took a secret underground passage when he was subpoenaed by prosecutors on Wednesday as a witness in an investigation into an alleged leak of secrets on the part of Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘), former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said.
Lee made the remarks on Friday evening in response to media inquiries as to why Ma took the underground passage instead of entering the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office by its front door when he arrived to be questioned by the prosecutors.
The Taipei Prosecutors’ Office opened the investigation after receiving complaints that Huang violated the law when he briefed Ma in late August on information gathered through wiretapping.
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Division (SID), which reported to Huang, said wiretapped conversations indicated that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) lobbied the then-justice minister and a senior High Court prosecutor in late June to prevent an appeal against Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), who had been acquitted in a breach of trust case.
“Ma felt embarrassed, he was chagrined for fear of losing face,” Lee said.
The former president then castigated Ma for allegedly using Huang to persecute Wang through wiretapping.
“No other leader in the world would dare do such a thing, because the speaker of the legislature represents the electorate,” Lee added.
“Developments in the case should be handled by the judiciary. As the president, Ma should keep quiet, but instead he went on the radio and talked about the case in an interview. I think Ma has been dim-witted on this matter,” Lee said.
The underground passageway that Ma used on Wednesday night was built during the Japanese colonial era and connects the Presidential Office Building to the nearby cluster of government bureaus located in the high-security Po-Ai Special District (博愛特區).
The secret passageway was mentioned in 2009 by former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) when he was detained and questioned on corruption charges at the Taiwan High Court in October 2009.
Chen at the time divulged that there are two secret, underground escape routes in the Presidential Office Building.
“It is no use to me, I cannot go anywhere now… It will be used by Ma Ying-jeou when he needs to make his escape,” Chen said at the time.