Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, reportedly purchased a house in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) for more than NT$70 million (US$2.3 million at the current exchange rate) in 2011, which contradicts his campaign image as an “everyman,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said yesterday.
Details of the property purchase were exposed yesterday by the Chinese-language Next Magazine.
Han on Monday uploaded to Facebook a video of himself doing laundry and on Thursday last week he used a public washroom at a Taoyuan gas station, which KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said demonstrated the mayor’s “charm.”
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Han’s campaign team are attempting to portray the mayor as an everyday person, media reports have said.
Han should be more responsible in the buildup to the Jan. 11 elections and should avoid causing disruptive class conflict, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said at a news conference in Taipei.
Kuan was joined by DPP legislators Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘), Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) and Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋).
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) had also commented that the atmosphere surrounding the election was “like a class struggle” when he decided not to run as an independent presidential candidate, Kuan said, adding that Han’s attempt to portray an “everyman” image has been his strategy since he ran for mayor last year, when he ate minced pork rice and drank bottled water while meeting voters.
Wang asked how Han and his wife, Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬), were able to purchase such an expensive home in 2011 when Han was unemployed if the couple were just “everyday people.”
He asked why the couple would sell the property at a loss in 2014, when Han was head of Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corp (台北農產公司), and then do the same when they sold a farmhouse in Yunlin County this year for less than its market value.
The property sales were “very much contrary to common sense,” he said.
The image of the couple as “everyday people” is also contradicted by their ownership of Victoria Academy bilingual school, which has very high tuition fees, Tsai said.
Han’s campaign office spokeswoman Ho Ting-huan (何庭歡) said that Han’s and Lee’s sale of the Nangang property at a loss was due to them having underestimated the financial burden of the property.
The couple were forced to sell to recuperate their losses, she said, adding that “everyday people have the right to buy and sell property.”
Additional reporting by CNA
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