SOGO employees to protest MOEA ruling, ownership meeting

By Camaron Kao,The China Post

The China Post–Some 500 SOGO employees will take to the street today in front of their department store on Zhongxiao east road to protest what they presumes as recent government intervention in their daily operation. Meanwhile, according to Far Eastern Group, its workers, including SOGO employees, may stage a larger demonstration as early as next Tuesday, marching from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to the Presidential Office, then finally to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). According to the Far Eastern Group, they will not force their employees to participate in the demonstration. The group stated that their department stores will open as usual on the day they protest. According to the Far Eastern Group, current SOGO managers have the best performance and give their employees significant benefits. On May 4 the MOEA approved the request of interim managers of Pacific Distribution to hold a special meeting of SOGO stakeholders. The meeting could change the SOGO ownership and thus sparked the outrage of Far Eastern Group Chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東), who claims ownership of SOGO department store. Hsu attempted to inject capital into Pacific Distribution and control SOGO via Pacific Distribution, but the capital injection was nullified by the MOEA. The court then appointed three interim managers to run Pacific Distribution. No Timetable or Candidates: Interim Managers

Interim managers of Pacific Distribution claimed their legitimacy to act as the board of directors of the company yesterday, and according to the MOEA they need to hold the special SOGO stakeholders meeting by Aug. 4. According to the interim managers, they do not have a timetable to elect directors or candidates for the directorship and they will not act in favor of Far Eastern Group, Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆), or Chang Min-chiang (章民強). Douglas Hsu, Lee, and Chang have been fighting for the ownership of SOGO department store for years, with Hsu running the department store since 2001. According to Far Eastern Group, interim managers of Pacific Distribution appointed Lee as their lawyer and coordinate via Lee. Far Eastern Group Urges Interim Managers to Relieve Lee Commenting on the statement by the interim managers, Far Eastern Group urged interim managers to relieve Lee of duty and to stand aside from the dispute of SOGO ownership.   Far Eastern also expressed its willingness to communicate with interim managers, so long as Lee is not involved. Hsu criticized the MOEA as being biased in a letter to the United Daily News. According to Hsu, the latest ruling of the High Court stated that his move to inject capital to Pacific Distribution is justified. The MOEA, however, did not recant its nullification but instead approved the special meeting of SOGO shareholders, Hsu wrote. Premier Sean Chen stated that the government has no choice but to follow the ruling of the court.