Lien sues KMT councilor over loss allegations
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-10 05:05 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Ruling Kuomintang Central Committee member Sean Lien sued the party’s Taipei City councilor Chung Hsiao-ping for defamation Friday after the latter accused him of having made disastrous investments.

Both men are likely to try and become the KMT candidate in the December 6 mayoral election. Lien is the favorite according to most polls, though he said he would announce next month whether or not he was joining the race.

When Lien served as chairman of the city-run Taipei Smart Card Corporation, he ordered investments which lost NT$270 million (US$8.9 million), though he made money for his own company in Hong Kong, Chung said in a TV show Thursday.

Lien denied the accusations and sent his attorney to file a defamation suit against Chung, demanding NT$5 million (US$166,000) in compensation and the printing of apologies on the front pages of seven newspapers.

Lien said that suing a party colleague had been a difficult decision to make. Chung should know TSCC never invested money in overseas funds under his leadership because the councilor received a written answer from the company in December 2012 to a question filed just days earlier, Lien said in a statement.

When he took over as company chairman in September 2008, he found that due to the global financial crisis, most funds run by the company were losing money, the statement said. He said he went on to redress the situation but never bought any new funds during his tenure.

Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin told reporters that in his understanding, Lien had turned the company around from a loss-making to a profit-making enterprise.

Chung defended himself, saying he was only pointing out the truth. He suggested Lien might be angry at him because he recently announced he was running for mayor of Taipei. Chung presented himself as the candidate of the common people against the “aristocratic” Lien, who hails from one of Taiwan’s top families. His father, Lien Chan, still serves as honorary chairman of the KMT and was vice president from 1994 to 2000. Chung said the younger Lien should form an election campaign team instead of a team of lawyers.

Several contenders for the KMT nomination have already emerged, including senior lawmaker Ting Shou-chung, but Lien is widely seen as the most likely to win if primaries are held.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party side has been affected by the candidacy of independent Ko Wen-je, who has surpassed Lien in some opinion polls to become the most popular candidate in the capital.

His rivals for the opposition candidacy have called on Ko to join the DPP, but he has said he should decide in March at the latest. The trauma expert fears party membership will harm his attempts at forging an opposition alliance to overthrow the KMT’s control over Taipei.

The December elections for city mayors, county magistrates and councilors all over Taiwan are seen as the last major test of public opinion before a presidential election in early 2016.

The DPP wants to win at least three of the country’s six special municipalities. Its incumbents in Kaohsiung and Tainan have nearly unassailable leads in the polls, while Taichung candidate Lin Chia-lung is doing well if Mayor Jason Hu runs for re-election. The other three special cities, Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan, are seen as KMT strongholds, though one poll has put Ko at 47 percent against 44 percent for Lien in Taipei.

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