Taiwan's top prosecutor indicted over wiretapping disclosure

Huang Shih-ming.

TAIPEI - The Taipei District Prosecutors Office (TDPO) yesterday announced its decision to indict Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) for disclosing wiretapped conversations during an ongoing investigation of an opposition lawmaker.

Having revealed contents of the wiretapped telephone conversations between Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to the president, Huang was summoned for questioning as a defendant for allegedly "leaking" classified information. Visiting the Presidential Office on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 to brief Ma on the wiretapped conversations and evidence supporting Wang's alleged influence peddling, Huang provided information before the official investigation period of Wang's case had ended, according to prosecutors.

The TDPO indicted Huang for violating the Criminal Code and the Communications and Surveillance Protection Act, adding that the key evidence that led to Huang's indictment were the two reports Ma had submitted to the TDPO, which were reports Huang himself had presented to Ma concerning Wang's case. Huang was deemed to have broken the law as he had disclosed the details of the investigation to Ma while the Special Investigation Division's (SID) probe on Wang was ongoing.

Huang's has insisted that he did not violate any laws, deciding to report to Ma about the wiretapped conversations only after concluding that Wang did not break the law, and that the alleged influence peddling only represented a transgression of the administrative system. Nevertheless, the TDPO stated that Huang's reports to Ma indicated that Huang had found the case "criminal" by type, making it illegal for him to leak information on the case.

Huang Implicates Ma: TDPO

The TDPO also criticised Huang for implicating the president, making him seem partial and guilty of meddling in the judicial system by leaking information in closed-door meetings. Prosecutors are allowed to conduct investigations unrestricted by government ministries, but instead of keeping the probe neutral and secret, Huang leaked the information to Ma, who did not have any direct ties to the case, the TDPO said.

Huang stated in a press release yesterday that he felt "great sorrow and bitterness that the TDPO had succumbed to political pressure thrust upon them," and added that he would resign if the court of first instance ruled him guilty. "I have felt confident (in my innocence) from the moment I was accused of disclosing classified information, and thought that (the truth) could endure the test," said Huang. "But now, I find it regrettable that prosecutors have decided to indict me; I have dedicated my life to serving the nation and have always obeyed the law. Instead, I am being indicted for exposing administrative wrongdoings."

SID chief Yang Jung-tsung (楊榮宗) and prosecutor Cheng Shen-yuan (鄭深元), both originally listed as defendants in the case, were not indicted due to a lack of evidence, the TDPO noted.