KMT says Ko camp fabricated wiretapping scandal

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien's campaign manager Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) yesterday said the rival Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) camp has falsely accused his team of wiretapping, saying that the incident is part of the opposition's smear campaign.

The KMT lawmaker pointed fingers to three key members of the Ko's camp, Yao Li-ming (姚立明), Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) and Chang Ching-sen (張景森), adding that one of the trio could be behind the incident in which Lien's camp was accused of bugging Ko's campaign office.

He reiterated his side of story, saying that he learned of Ko's itinerary and a list of advisers that Ko was set to announce because he got the information from Chang, who he claimed to be a loose-lipped member of Ko's campaign team.

"Ko's campaign team was too afraid to conduct an internal probe on the leak of the itinerary and advisers list, so they decided to blame me for the so-called wiretapping incident," he said.

The Ko camp did not even find wiretapping devices before it accused the Lien camp of eavesdropping, Tsai said, adding that such action was primitive and an apparent attempt to frame the KMT camp for something it did not do.

Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) yesterday said the so-called wiretapping incident only exposed the Ko camp's deep connection with an urban renewal company.

According to Lo, the Ko office that the camp suspected Lien of bugging was offered by the Taiwan Urban Renewal Company that was supposedly founded by former President Chen Shui-bian before he concluded his time in office in 2008.

She noted that Chang, a former Cabinet member during Chen's administration, had been selling government-own land for private use for years.

The KMT lawmaker said Chang's close connection with the urban renewal company is one of the reasons for the skyrocketing real estate prices in Taiwan.

Lo asked Ko to explain his camp's close link with the urban renewal company and why the company offered him a campaign office.

Accusation Ridiculous: Ko

In response, Ko yesterday denied that the alleged wiretapping incident was staged by his camp.

"This is not our style," he noted.

He added that the case is now being probed by the police, so he would not speculate on the ongoing investigation.

The pan-green independent candidate also said that Lo's accusation is "unfounded and ridiculous" and too absurd for him to comment on.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Urban Renewal Company yesterday clarified Lo's accusation by saying that the company was founded in 2008 during Ma Ying-jeou's administration.

The company has no relation with Chang nor did Chang invest or hold any position in the company, it said.