Justice ministry questions Huang over wiretapping

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Mon, Nov 11, 2013 - Page 3

State Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) arrived at the Ministry of Justice for questioning yesterday amid allegations that prosecutors under him had illegally recorded the telephone calls of politicians involved in a probe into alleged improper lobbying.

Huang was questioned by the ministry’s Prosecutor Evaluation Committee after it was revealed that the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office tapped the telephone of Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and the Legislative Yuan’s switchboard as it investigated Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) for allegedly using his influence to help Ker in a breach of trust case.

Aside from Huang, SID prosecutor Cheng Shen-yuan (鄭深元), who was put in charge of wiretapping Ker and the legislature’s switchboard, was also questioned.

Committee spokesman Peng Wen-cheng (彭文正) said Cheng insisted he had not violated any regulations while conducting his probe into the improper lobbying allegations and that the wiretapping of the legislature’s switchboard had been done by mistake.

Huang began his interview at 2:30pm and the questioning was ongoing at press time.

The ministry decided to question Huang and several prosecutors after completing an investigation last month into the SID’s surveillance activities.

The division’s monitoring practices drew widespread criticism and calls for its abolition after Huang in September released transcripts to corroborate the allegations against Wang.

As a result, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) suspended Wang’s membership, while then-minister of justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) resigned over his role in the case.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has indicted Huang — who allegedly provided details of the Wang case while it was still ongoing to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — on charges of leaking classified information.

Leaking information is in breach of the Criminal Code and the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法).