Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-09-27 11:23 AM
During an interview Thursday KMT legislator Lo Shu-lei told a reporter that Huang should make things very clear and not try to ‘whitewash’ what has happened by merely passively responding to questions when asked. If he is found to be lying in the future, she said, Huang should step down from his office.
KMT legislator Liao Cheng-ching has criticized Huang for his handling of the investigation into charges of influence peddling against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, saying that the Chief Prosecutor has already made a number of glaring errors in handling the case.
Stung by criticism that it illegally tapped the phone lines of Lin Hsiu-tao, the Special Investigation Division (SID) said Thursday that Lin had been suspected of possibly looking for a promotion or a bribe in exchange for not appealing a case against Ker Chien-ming in which Ker had been acquitted. SID said it thus had a legal basis for listening in on conversations on Lin’s line. The agency added that once they discovered that one of Lin’s phone lines had been purchased for use by her daughter, the tap on that particular line was removed in order not to violate the daughter’s privacy.
SID has been accused of tapping the lines of people who had not committed a crime that carries punishment of three years or more in jail. SID acting spokesman Jung-tsung Yang explained said that such charges confuse ‘cause and effect’ in the agency’s actions. He explained that in the initial states of an investigation it is often impossible to know whether a criminal offense warranting three years in prison is being committed. He added that the law states that others involved in a case as co-defendants can be called as witnesses, thus Lin Hsiu-tao was regarded by SID as a potential witness who could be subpoenaed to testify.
On Wednesday Huang Shih-ming told the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the Legislative Yuan that he had listened to conversations between Lin Hsiu-tao on her private line, arousing lively discussion between prosecutors and judges involved in cases being prosecuted in relation to the Ker Chien-ming influence peddling charges.
Supporters of SID’s actions argue that monitoring and follow-on monitoring are already common evidence collection techniques accepted by prosecutors and judges and that as long as one has done nothing wrong, there is no need to fear a ‘midnight knock on the door’. On the other hand, opponents say they fear prosecutors will deliberately drum up charges involving crimes carrying sentences of three or more years to justify listening in, which is an abuse of monitoring guidelines. Their main concern, they say, is that illegal monitoring could be used as a tool by the government to control or even purge dissidents.
Jung-Tsung Yang said that SID found that after the guilty verdict against Ker Chien-ming was reversed, Lin Hsiu-tao decided not to appeal the decision, giving reasonable grounds to suspect that she may have accepted a bribe or an offer of a job promotion in exchange for not taking the case to a higher court. The Corruption Act makes such an act a felony carrying a sentence of more than five years, thus a warrant for wiretapping No.102-756 was obtained from Taipei District Court on July 10 this year and Lin’s cell phone was tapped July 13.
A few days later SID realized that although the phone was registered in Lin Hsiu-tao’s name it was actually being used by her daughter, and the eavesdropping was immediately called off. The tap was in place for less than a week altogether.
Later investigation found that Lin Hsiu-tao had another phone, and SID re-applied for warrant No. 102-800, with a tap installed from July 19 onwards. A second warrant was obtained one month later, and monitoring continued until September 5.
Jung-tsung Yang said investigators concluded that there was no evidence that Lin Hsiu-tao had taken a bribe or received a promotion or other improper benefit in exchange no not appealing the Ker case, and a full written report was sent to the Prosecutors Evaluation Committee. Yang said all recordings, transcriptions and warrants related to the investigation are on record and said that all procedures followed by SID will "absolutely stand up to examination."