Taiwan presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu sues legislator over gravel excavation claims

NPP legislator Huang Kuo-chang accuses Han of pressuring local authorities on behalf of family business during tenure as legislator

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Ye Yuan-chih (left), Yeh Ching-yuan.

Ye Yuan-chih (left), Yeh Ching-yuan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) had his campaign staff file a lawsuit on Monday (Dec. 2) against New Power Party (NPP) legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌).

Huang is accused of having disseminated rumors for the purpose of preventing a candidate from being elected, according to Han’s lawyer Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), who citied the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act. He and Han’s campaign office spokesperson Ye Yuan-chih (葉元之) both showed up at the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office to file the suit on Han’s behalf.

“Huang is obviously lying,” said Yeh, denouncing the NPP lawmaker for attempting to tarnish Han’s reputation and exert a negative impact on his presidential campaign. Meanwhile, Ye insisted that Huang has not provided any evidence to back up his claims, further stating that he had made up a story and caused misunderstanding in society.

For the last few days, Huang has been accusing Da-tong Gravel Co (大通砂石行), which is owned by Han’s father-in-law and former Yunlin County Councilor Lee Jih-kuei (李日貴), of illegally excavating gravel along the bank of the Zhuoshui River near the Siluo Bridge between 1998 and 2005.

According to Huang, Han and his wife Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬), then a legislator and county councilor, respectively, were also involved in pressuring the local government to approve and fund a new embankment construction project near the river in 1998. He maintains that Lee Jih-kuei’s company later profited hugely from excavating gravel between the original and the new embankments.

Ye Yuan-chih responded on Monday that Huang had invented these claims for his party’s gain and to boost his legislative bid. He went on to call Huang’s action “pathetic.”

The spokesperson also dismissed the possibility that the presidential candidate would have a face-to-face talk with Huang over the issue, an idea originally proposed by the legislator. “Who does he think he is?” he exclaimed.