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Ko Wen-je riled by flurry of ads over Taipei IT Park

Ko Wen-je riled by flurry of ads over Taipei IT Park

Hong Hai chairman Terry Gou let loose a broadside Monday with half-page ads on the front pages of six major daily newspapers castigating Ko Wen-je and the Taipei City Government over the Taipei Cloud Computing Industrial Park, a multi-use office building and parking garage under construction near the Guanghua Market in Taipei.

Gou’s advertisement called for the city government to place all documentation and Publicity about the bidding process behind the project on its website, along with all available audio and video recordings, within 48 hours of the appearance of the advertisement, warning that otherwise the consortium would halt all work on the project including an air bridge between the new building and the Guanghua Market.

Taipei Mayor Ko called a press conference at noon Monday to answer the ads and Terry Gou’s criticisms of the city government. Ko called Gou’s action ‘arrogant’, noting that at a cost of NT$500,000 to 800,000 a shot the buy probably set him back about NT$3 million. Ko said the electronics entrepreneur could have achieved basically the same results by making a simple phone call.

Ko protested that the Taipei City Government is a public organization, it is not a subsidiary of Hon Hai or a consortium or any other business group, and thus it would not be cowed by Gou’s ultimatum that it act in accordance with his demands within 48 hours.

Chu Wen-min, Public Relations Director for the Hon Hai Group, stressed that Terry Gou has run into a number of problems recently in Taiwan. He explained that Gou’s conscience is clear and that he participated in the tender for the IT Park project in all honesty and is personally committed to the project. In addition, he said his actions in taking on the project have been "entirely lawful, reasonable and sensible” and he can stand up to any criticism related to his role in the project.

Chu explained that all of the documents related to the project and the bidding process are in the hands of government officials, and the only way that they could be brought to light was by demanding that Ko have them placed on the city government’s website.

Chu said some people had complained that 11 of the 12 judges on the bidding committee voted for Hon Hai, saying that the process ‘must have been rigged’. He said it is only natural that Gou would want to bring the facts out and clear the good name of Hon Hai.

Chu said one city councilor had claimed that in 50 years the entire project would not be worth enough to buy a salted egg, to which Gou huffed in response that the councilor “either needs to do some homework or is doing some dubious creative thinking.” Chu added that the project is bringing royalties to the city, the investors are pouring billions into the building and hardware and software, and they will be good taxpayers in the future.

Chu noted that Gou and Hon Hai would like to see an investigation by an independent agency such as the Taipei City Bureau of Investigation or the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, or someone in the judicial branch of the central government, to show that the investors have been forthright and honest in the project.

In addition, Hon Hai has always taken the position that cooperation between government and business is not illegal. If there is anything illegal or improper about the IT Park project, said Chu, it should be subject to the most severe legal sanctions. Chu emphasized that Hon Hai brings many years of goodwill to this project and hopes that the government will publish the truth for all to see.

Taipei Financial Secretary Su Chien-jung told reporters Monday that Mayor Ko was very serious in making his statement. He added that the city would not be putting the information demanded by Gou on its website, explaining that much of the data was confidential information that the city was not free to disclose.

At the same time, he said, the city is always ready to communicate and would welcome a call or a visit from Gou. The city will not, however, bend to threats or ultimatums from the consortium.

Su added that in the future the city will be deal with BOT plans on a "case by case" basis and will be considerably more cautious in taking on such projects.


Updated : 2021-09-24 00:13 GMT+08:00