King Pu-tsung loses Peng libel suit

By Yang Kuo-wen and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Wed, Mar 04, 2015 - Page 3

The Taiwan High Court yesterday ruled against former National Security Council secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) in a libel suit he filed against award-winning screenwriter and author Neil Peng (馮光遠) in connection with comments the author made about the nature of King’s relationship with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

The High Court ruled that, in the context of Peng’s Facebook comments, the “special relationship” that Peng described between King and Ma was not centered on their sexual orientation, but their personal relationship, which Peng said had led to King’s appointment to several government positions.

Peng’s comments thereby did not constitute libel, the court said.

The Taipei District Court made a similar ruling in August last year.

Meanwhile, the High Court ruled that words like “idiot,” “bitch” and “asshole” in Peng’s Facebook posts, though mean-spirited, were not “empty slander,” but commentaries directed at specific incidents and therefore did not constitute public insults against King.

In a Facebook message posted in 2012, Peng insinuated that King’s “Brokeback” relationship with Ma had helped him secure government posts without having any background in the fields, referring to Ang Lee’s (李安) movie about a homosexual love story, Brokeback Mountain.

The ruling marked King’s eighth loss out of nine suits he has filed since 1997, with one suit against People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) withdrawn in 2011.