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KMT expels talk show host after president sues her

SID questions KMT and Taipei 101 officials

KMT expels talk show host after president sues her

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Ma Ying-jeou sued talk show host Clara Chou for aggravated defamation and the Kuomintang decided to expel her Tuesday after she repeatedly accused the president of having accepted illegal donations from Ting Hsin International.
Chou has been bashing the ruling party for months, first over its decision to nominate former Vice President Lien Chan’s son Sean Lien as its mayoral candidate in Taipei City and later over its alleged close links to Ting Hsin, the group at the heart of repeated food adulteration scandals.
In the criminal and civil suits filed against Chou Tuesday, Ma demanded compensation of NT$10 million (US$315,000) and the publication of apologies on the front pages of four major Chinese-language newspapers. Aggravated defamation can be punished with a prison sentence of up to two years, reports said.
Ma was suing in the capacity of a private citizen, a practice he used before when accused by a local opposition politician of accepting money from a reputed gambling operator, reports said.
Chou first accused the KMT in general of accepting NT$200 million (US$6.3 million) in illegal political donations from Ting Hsin, but last week she named Ma as the actual recipient, while also accusing some of his closest advisers and a friend, financier Benny Hu, of involvement.
The president sharply rejected Chou’s story, with his attorneys and spokesperson accusing the outspoken talk show host of spreading unfounded rumors and of failing to provide any evidence for her theories.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Prosecutors Office Special Investigation Division (SID) opened an investigation into the allegations. In the latest stage, its prosecutors reportedly questioned Taipei 101 Chairwoman Christina Sung Tuesday. Ting Hsin holds a 37-percent stake in the company which owns the iconic building, though it has recently been trying to sell it.
On Monday, the SID talked to former presidential official and close Ma confidant Lo Chih-chiang and to attorney Sung Yao-ming, and on Tuesday morning, KMT Vice Secretary-General Lin Te-jui appeared at the SID offices.
In a separate move, the ruling party’s Discipline Committee on Tuesday morning decided unanimously to recommend the expulsion of Chou from the KMT. She used to be a member of the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union, but over the past year she repeatedly showed reporters a membership card of the KMT. She even wanted to register as a candidate for party leader in elections scheduled for January 17, but was rejected because she did not qualify according to the party rules.
Chou’s repeated comments in the media clearly harmed the KMT’s reputation and interests, so she should be expelled, the Discipline Committee said.
The talk show host earlier sued the party for threats and intimidation.


Updated : 2020-12-03 16:38 GMT+08:00