Two county commissioner candidates affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in Miaoli County have each demanded that the other withdraw from the race, after a decades-old murder conviction came to light, and a poll indicated that the two are creating an opening for their Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rival.
Candidate Hsieh Fu-hung (謝福弘) told a news conference on Thursday that Chung Tung-chin (鍾東錦) should withdraw from the race after trying to conceal a conviction for killing a man more than 30 years ago.
Hsieh said that he is the party’s legitimate candidate given that he was officially nominated by the KMT, adding that his work as chairman of the Miaoli County Farmers Irrigation Association and head of the county’s KMT chapter bolsters his credentials.
Photo courtesy of Chung Tung-chin’s campaign
Chung was elected as a Miaoli councilor in 2014, then assumed the council speaker’s office in 2018. After losing a bid for the party’s nomination this year, Chung registered independently in June.
Chung is backed by incumbent KMT Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌), who made several appearances at campaign events to rally support.
Meanwhile, Hsieh is backed by two former KMT county commissioners, Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) and Fu Hsueh-peng (傅學鵬).
The split has benefited DPP candidate Hsu Ting-chen (徐定禎), with a poll showing all three in a close contest at just under 20 percent support. New Power Party (NPP) candidate Sung Kuo-ting (宋國鼎) trailed in a distant fourth spot.
The KMT Miaoli County chapter had earlier this week recommended expelling both Chung and Hsu for contravening party rules, although a final decision by the party’s Central Standing Committee is to be made next week.
The clash was heightened on Thursday when Hsieh presented documents provided by NPP members and other politicians showing that Chung was convicted of killing a man surnamed Hu (胡) in 1987.
By Hsieh’s account, Chung said he had only intended to injure Hu with a watermelon knife during a fight, and the killing was an accident.
“Chung has dismissed the conviction” by claiming it was an accident, “saying that he was a young man at 25 years of age,” Hsieh said.
“Chung vowed to resign as council speaker and quit the county commissioner race if someone could present evidence that he had killed a man,” Hsieh said.
“Now we have NPP members and other politicians providing archived news reports and court documents on this homicide case, in which he was sentenced to three years and eight months,” Hsieh said.
Chung’s campaign office said in a statement that former county commissioners Liu and Fu had spent public money wastefully and that they are backing Hsieh after colluding with other parties.
Sung and other NPP members on Monday presented news reports and court documents from 1987, which showed that Chung, at the time named Chung Chao-ping (鍾朝平), was at a restaurant in Taipei with six friends when he became involved in a dispute with Hu, who was sitting at an adjacent table.
Sung said that an investigation showed that Chung and his friends punched and kicked Hu, while Chung and others sliced Hu with a watermelon knife, resulting in severe injuries.
Hu later died at a local hospital, Sung said.
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