The head of Taiwan's top civil service watchdog is under fire over allegations that he and his legislator wife abused their powers by using coastguard vessels for a sightseeing trip. Yao Chia-wen, president of the Examination Yuan, and wife Chou Ching-yu were reported by Taiwanese news media to have taken 42 of Ms Chou's 'vote captains' to Green Island in eastern Taiwan aboard two coastguard boats on Friday, ahead of December's legislative elections. Vote captains solicit votes for election candidates. A day before the cruise, the coastguard cancelled its regular publicity boat trip for the public to concentrate on catching two fugitives wanted for kidnapping. The Taiwanese edition of the Apple Daily broke the story and the report was picked up by other media, prompting furious criticism from opposition legislators. They accused the couple of abusing government resources and lashed out at President Chen Shui-bian for repeatedly tolerating abuse of privileges by his officials. Mr Yao and Ms Chou are heavyweight members of Mr Chen's Democratic Progressive Party. Mr Chen came under fire earlier this month when it was revealed that a close confidant of his wife, Wu Shu-chen, had made a National Security Bureau officer drive her home and to work. Mr Yao said he was considering suing the Apple Daily for failing to check its facts. 'We were merely participating in the coastguard's [public relations] sea-experience camp, which has been held about 150 times. More than 5,000 people have experienced such a trip, and we also paid for it,' he said. Ms Chou admitted that each year her assistant arranged a trip as a treat for her assistants in the legislature and her constituency in Changhwa county, central Taiwan. This year the sea-experience trip was chosen. Coast Guard Administration head Shi Hwei-you said yesterday he would ask Lin Kao-chih, chief of the coastguard's east coast division, who accompanied the couple on the hour-long trip, to report to him about the case today. Mr Shi said Mr Yao might not have known the trips were cancelled and his subordinates might have been reluctant to reject senior officials. He said he would launch an investigation into the incident.