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Pan Shih-wei out as Labor Minister after alleged affair exposed
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-24 03:05 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Premier Jiang Yi-huah approved Labor Minister Pan Shi-wei’s offer of resignation after allegations of an extramarital affair, a government spokesman said Thursday.

Jiang and Pan held several discussions over the phone during the day, said Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun. The premier had finally decided to accept the minister’s offers of resignation, he added. His duties would be temporarily assigned to Deputy Minister Hao Feng-ming.

Next Magazine reported Wednesday that Pan was suspected of carrying on an illicit affair with a 36-year-old woman surnamed Wang who has worked as his secretary for six years. Sun disclosed Thursday that Pan called Premier Jiang in the morning to offer a verbal resignation and express his regret for any inconvenience he may have caused the Cabinet.

Pan did not show up for a scheduled meeting at the Executive Yuan Thursday morning. The premier reportedly said that with the typhoon two days ago and the crash of an airliner in Penghu Wednesday he has a lot of work on his agenda, and settling up with Pan could wait until later.

Vice Premier Chen Yi-min confirmed the reports of Pan’s early Thursday phone call and offer of resignation. He added that one of the persons who survived the plane crash in Penghu was Hung Yu-ting, an official of the Department of Labor Development in the Eastern Branch of the Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Penghu Job Center. He said personnel from the MOL have been dispatched to Penghu to assist Hung in recovering from his injuries.

Pan is the latest in a string of officials in the Ma Ying-jeou administration to run afoul of moral strictures in the past few years.

In 2009 Minister without Portfolio Chu Yun-peng, an adviser to President Ma, stepped down without making any explanations or apologies after he was found – again, by Next Magazine – playing hooky from his duties and sneaking off during the day to spend time with his girlfriend, a 23-year-old piano teacher in southern Taiwan. Chu defended his actions by saying, “All citizens of the Republic of China, including officials, have the right to their private lives.”

The minister, who reportedly was divorced the previous year, returned to a teaching position at Central University and eventually married the girlfriend in the controversy. As a single man at the time when his relationship was exposed, Chu won praise from some quarters as “a real man” for sacrificing his position for love.

Executive Yuan spokesman Hu You-wei generated a lot of publicity for himself in 2012 when it was revealed that he was involved with a female graduate student at National Taiwan Normal University. Hu also won a bit of notoriety as the first public official in Taiwan to be forced to step down after an affair exposed through postings on Facebook.

More recently, in April this year Next Magazine revealed that Chen Shi-shuenn, Chairman of the Public Works Committee of the Executive Yuan, had been photographed making visits to the residence of Regina Wang, Director of the Department of Industrial and Commercial Design at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. Chen vigorously denied the story but agreed to resign after a couple of meetings with Premier Jiang. His term in office, just short of six months, was the shortest of anyone ever to head the committee.

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