Taiwan Cabinet spokeswoman-designate convicted of drunk driving: reports

Incident happened four years ago: Apple Daily

Cabinet spokesperson-designate Kolas Yotaka.

Cabinet spokesperson-designate Kolas Yotaka. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Kolas Yotaka, the Democratic Progressive Party legislator nominated to take over as Cabinet spokesperson, was convicted of drunk driving four years ago, the Apple Daily reported Saturday.

The appointment of Kolas, 44, a woman from Taiwan’s indigenous minority, announced last Thursday, had been widely praised as an original move for the Cabinet of Premier William Lai (賴清德). She and six other new ministers are scheduled to take up their new postings on Monday.

According to the Apple Daily report, Kolas was stopped by police on August 9, 2014, while she was driving home after having drunk two cans of beer. Her blood-alcohol concentration was found to be 0.37 milligram of alcohol per liter of breath, above the 0.25 mg maximum legal limit, the report said.

Kolas pleaded guilty and was sentenced by the Taipei District Court to two months in prison, a punishment replaceable by a fine of NT$60,000 (US$1,960). Neither side appealed the sentence, the Apple Daily reported.

The court said her behavior neglected both her own safety and that of the public while disregarding government campaigns against the dangers of drunk driving. However, because she had never been convicted before and came from a modest economic background, the court decided to be relatively generous, the report said.

In a reaction to the news, Kolas acknowledged her mistake, adding it had happened when she was still a journalist, before she had started on a career in politics. She said she was willing to become a volunteer for life against drunk driving.

She added that on the day in question, she had been at a dinner and slept inside her car for four hours, hoping the alcohol would wear off, the Central News Agency reported.