The Taipei Bar Association yesterday expressed regret over the decision by the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office to refer former president Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) lawyer Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文龍) to a disciplinary committee.
Despite a resolution approved by the Taipei Bar Association last month not to take any disciplinary action against Cheng over his handling of Chen's case, the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office on Wednesday decided that Cheng had violated legal ethics and his case has been submitted to a disciplinary committee consisting of three judges, one prosecutor and five lawyers for review.
Taipei Bar Association chairman Liu Chih-peng (劉志鵬) yesterday reiterated that Cheng had not violated any regulations during the case, adding that the bar had found Cheng's actions were not aimed at helping Chen to escape, destroy evidence nor share testimony information with other witnesses or defendants in the case, and that he was merely doing his job as a lawyer.
However, Chief Prosecutor Hou Ming-huang (侯名皇), after reviewing recordings of Cheng's visits with Chen during the latter's detention and material containing Cheng relaying statements from Chen, concluded on Wednesday that Cheng's remarks that “the judiciary has reached a decision prior to the trial” and that the judiciary “indicted Chen on [their superiors'] directive” had violated principles of legal ethics.
Hou said Cheng's remarks constituted a malicious attack on the judiciary, did not fulfill his responsibility to promote democracy and maintain a good social standing and had obstructed prosecutors' attempts to investigate and establish the facts of the case.
On Dec. 5, the Taipei Bar Association stated that the Attorney Act (律師法) and legal ethics did not preclude a lawyer from talking to the press. Making reference to legislation in the US and other developed countries, the association said it was the responsibility of the bar association, and not the Ministry of Justice, to determine the extent to which lawyers could talk to outsiders. The information Cheng relayed to the press was unrelated to Chen's case and did not constitute a violation of the Attorney Act, the bar association said.
In response to the move made by the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office, Cheng said prosecutors were ignoring the rights of lawyers to defend themselves, as well as the resolution passed by the bar association. He said it was unreasonable for prosecutors to act as both a player and the referee.
In related news, two senior judges found themselves in a war of words with two Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators over Chen's case.
Shortly after the Taipei District Court's decision last week to change the presiding judge in Chen's case, Huang Jui-hua (黃瑞華), president of the Ilan District Court, and Shilin District Court Judge Hung Ying-hua (洪英花) published articles criticizing the decision and panning the procedures as flawed.
On Thursday, KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) accused Hung of being Chen's “secret guard in the judiciary” during a political talk show on TVBS.
Moments later, the show's host told the audience that Hung had just called in and asked Tsai to apologize for the remark, or else she would sue Tsai on Monday Tsai refused to apologize.
KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), another guest on the show, claimed that Huang has been called a “judicial Rambo” because she presided over a corruption case against former Pingtung County commissioner Wu Tse-yuan (伍澤元) and had passed a heavy sentence.
Chiu said that Huang had learned that former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) had given Wu a loan and that Wu had leaked the information to Democratic Progressive Party legislators to make it public.
Huang yesterday dismissed Chiu's allegations as “bullshit.”
In response, Chiu said he planned to sue Huang over the response.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official