Accusations of wiretaps add to Taiwan's legislative acrimony

Investigators admit to 'accidentally' monitoring phone calls of prosecutor's daughter, aged 12

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 September, 2013, 4:50am

The bitter feuding among Taiwan's political leaders shows no sign of easing as another scandal unfolds, with a top prosecutor accused of eavesdropping on the ruling authorities' opponents.

As revelations of wiretapping emerged, government investigators admitted they "accidentally" tapped phone calls of the 12-year-old daughter of a prosecutor implicated in the alleged influence peddling scandal.

That the girl became an unlikely target of the wiretap was apparently due to a mistake by the special investigation division under the Supreme Prosecutors Office as it sought to monitor calls made by the child's mother, Lin Hsiu-tao, a prosecutor accused by Prosecutor General Huang Shih-ming of succumbing to influence peddling.

"This shows how abusive and common it is for the special investigation division to wiretap people," said Kuan Bi-ling, a legislator from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, at a news conference yesterday.

Kuan claimed she found out through the justice ministry that many wiretaps by investigators were made in the name of "extensive monitoring", a broad label that inappropriately allowed them to avoid the required procedures for court approval.

During a legislative session yesterday, other DPP lawmakers also protested at what they described as President Ma Ying-jeou's "use of wiretaps to monitor his opponents".

The special investigation division explained that it had originally intended to monitor Lin's phone conversations, and after finding it was her daughter they were monitoring, it dropped the wiretap. It later found that Lin used her husband's phone and monitored that device from July 19 to September 5.

The wiretapping scandal comes after Huang accused Lin of following a request by Chen Shou-huang, the director of the High Prosecutors Office, to drop an appeal against a not-guilty verdict granted to the DPP whip Ker Chien-ming in a breach-of-trust case. Huang claims Ker sought help from Wang, who then asked Chen and the then justice minister, Tseng Yung-fu, to instruct Lin to drop the appeal.

Meanwhile, the KMT filed an appeal to the high court seeking to overturn an injunction. A verdict by the high court is expected to be issued on Monday.