Taiwan president’s aide urged to resign over cigarette smuggling

Former leader says Secretary-General to the President Chen Chu should take responsibility for scandal

Secretary-General to the President, Chen Chu (陳菊)(Facebook photo)

Secretary-General to the President, Chen Chu (陳菊)(Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-ban (陳水扁) called for the resignation of a senior official from the Office of the President over the cigarette smuggling scandal in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug. 20).

Chen believes doing so will improve the chances of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) being reelected. He agrees with Chen Chia-hung (陳嘉宏), editor-in-chief of Up Media, who in an opinion piece on Aug. 12 lashed out at the Tsai administration for its handling of the situation.

Officials from Taiwan’s top intelligence agency and the Presidential Office were alleged to have attempted to smuggle about 10,000 cartons of duty-free cigarettes into the country last month. They were trying to take advantage of preferential treatment at customs, as part of Tsai’s entourage, upon her return from a visit to the Caribbean.

The case has led to the removal of the head of the National Security Bureau, but no high-ranking official from the Presidential Office has taken responsibility for the scandal. With the 2020 presidential election less than six months away, the ex-leader of Taiwan believes Secretary-General of the Presidential Office, Chen Chu (陳菊), should step down.

He urged Chen Chu to take responsibility and mollify public displeasure. “Her resignation will serve to boost Tsai’s re-election bid,” argued Chen Shui-bian.