Labor Minister denies rumors of affair with secretary
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-23 05:10 PM
Minister of Labor Pan Shi-wei has condemned a report in Next Magazine which hints at an improper relationship between himself and his personal secretary, a woman 23 years younger than he is. The magazine article centers on Pan and a 36-year-old woman surnamed Wang who has been his secretary for six years and was a student at Chinese Culture University when Pan was a professor there some years ago.

The magazine article alleges that Wang has accompanied Pan on a number of fact-finding trips overseas over a period of nearly five years. It adds that the two often travel business class overseas despite aides’ advice that traveling in such relative comfort is a waste of national public funds.

The report charged that Pan frequently visits Wang’s residence in the evening after work and is said to often pick her up in his official car on the way to the ministry, with the secretary buying a breakfast for two.

Pan denied the magazine article’s implications in a press conference Wednesday, warning that the magazine would have to bear full legal responsibility for the content. He said that as his personal secretary Wang accompanies him occasionally on overseas trips to handle arrangements and maintain communications with the ministry.

Pan also suggested that the magazine would not have run with the story if his secretary were a man. Saying that the article played up the fact that he and his secretary are a male and a female, Pan asked, “If my secretary were a man, would they come out with a story that I was gay?”

The Next article quoted an unnamed source in the MOL as saying that on a recent trip to Switzerland for a labor conference the ministry had originally planned to send Pan and one other high-ranking ministry official, but Pan insisted that Wang go with him instead. The source said that as a result only one MOL official participated in the conference instead of two.

Pan emphasized that everything in his relations with Wang is aboveboard and in accordance with regulations, and he has nothing to hide. He said that includes everything from visiting her residence outside office hours to traveling overseas together. He said that members of Wang’s family were often at home when he went there, and said that travel arrangements on trips abroad were all made in accordance with the rules laid down for ministers and other high-ranking officials.

Pan noted that according to the ministry’s Global Travel Allowance Disbursement Guidelines, Article 5, “the Minister shall travel in first class and may designate one person to accompany (him or her) in the same class.” He said that the travel arrangements and expenses were all duly reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following each trip, adding that on other visits abroad he always traveled business class round-trip.

Pan explained that Wang is very familiar with his work and arranges his schedule both in Taiwan and overseas. He stressed that she is his “only window to the outside” and praised her as a workaholic who takes her job very seriously. He warned Next Magazine that it must bear responsibility for spreading what he called "malicious and misleading content.”

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