Ko staff member resigns over Line message

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A member of staff at Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je resigned Thursday evening after allegations he had tried to use his influence to help a friend be selected for an alternative to military service.
The accusations surfaced after the city’s military service department erroneously issued a message on the Line social network, hinting that it was Ko himself and not the staff member, Chiu Yu-kai, who had been asking for a favor. Critics of the popular mayor immediately hinted that this might be a case of illegal influence peddling.
Chiu reportedly admitted he had helped a friend by approaching the city’s military service department to seek information on his behalf about alternatives to military service.
Chiu offered his personal apology to Ko and tendered his resignation, which was accepted, a city spokesman said.
The mayor said the incident had seriously affected the city government’s image, and staff members should be more careful about their actions and words. No matter what Chiu’s motivation had been, his words had been inappropriate, Ko was quoted as saying.
Chiu’s friend was supposed to start his alternative to military service on October 7, and Chiu wanted to ask the military service department if it was possible to have him work at the city government.
The city spokesman said its department was not responsible for this kind of arrangement, which fell under the authority of the Ministry of Interior.
Since Ko took office last December, he has emphasized open government, transparency and the use of social networks, including Line, for communication between officials and departments. Earlier, an anti-corruption official at the city government was disciplined when a Line message showed she had been buying and selling shares during her working hours.

Updated : 2021-01-28 18:10 GMT+08:00