Former President Chen Shui-bian, on medical parole from a 20-year jail sentence for corruption, is challenging his ex-protege Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to give him a presidential pardon.
Chen attended a fundraising dinner for his Ketagalan Foundation despite Taichung Prison warning him not to make any public appearance of a political nature.
A consummate defence lawyer, Chen, who groomed his "kohai" President Tsai, said in a canned speech released at the party in Taipei: "I want to ask if our government will fall just because it allows me to speak in public? Is it that serious?"
He then blasted Tsai for her poor treatment of the men and women of the armed forces, as well as public servants and teachers.
Tsai is planning to reduce the pensions for such workers even in the face of increasingly strong public opposition.
Chen made an end run to appear at the venue of the gathering from where he spoke in violation of the rules the Taichung Prison authorities had laid down for his attendance. They are now at a loss at what to do with their prisoner on parole.