Ma sues DPP for ‘secret meeting’ claims

The China Post news staff

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday brought a civil lawsuit against Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman and presidential candidate of the opposition the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), over the party’s allegations that he secretly met with a bookmaker last September. Lai Su-ju (賴素如), the president’s attorney, filed the suit in the Taipei District Court on behalf of the president yesterday.

Ma, however, spared Next Magazine (壹週刊), the weekly that first published the exclusive story, from a possible court date, but sternly chastised it for its apparent lack of “journalistic professionalism.” But the mayor of Chiayi City, who is concurrently a vice chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), has decided to sue the magazine.

“I have to seek a clarification of the whole matter and restore Taiwan’s democracy to its unadulterated state through the judiciary,” Ma says in a statement issued through KMT Secretary General Liao Liao-yi (廖了以).

Ma sued the DPP and Tsai not in his official capacities, but as a private citizen. Tsai, as official representative of DPP, will be named as a defendant.

According to Ma, the DPP has resorted to negative campaigning tactics and smearing by creating the false impression that he is trying to sway the upcoming elections in his favor by associating himself with gangsters and by manipulating the betting odds.

“And it has done so without furnishing the proof and without a verification process,” says the president.

According to the president’s statement, in an appearance on a TVBS talk show on Nov. 16, DPP spokesman Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) claimed that he secretly met with gambling ring leader Chen Ying-chu (陳盈助) on Sept. 10 to thank Chen for his NT$300 million, NT$200 million more than the NT$100 million alleged by Next Magazine, in political donations to his campaign. Liang also said on the occasion that the president had come to know Chen through senior party and government officials.

And then at a DPP press conference on Nov. 17, Liang said Ma had gone to southern Taiwan to raise NT$300 million and try and manipulate the betting odds.

“These are pure fabrications and completely baseless, of which the purpose is to mislead the general public,” the president says in his statement.