Chiu Yi says he planned to quit politics after he and his wife divorced in March last year. One man who must be wishing the Kuomintang legislator had not changed his mind at the last minute is Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who is now facing his biggest crisis and coming under mounting pressure to step down. 'I was very frustrated and disappointed with local politics after I divorced last year. When I was thinking of stepping down from the political stage, TVBS made me change my mind,' said Mr Chiu, referring to the cable TV network known for the dirt it digs up on the government in its political talk shows. The 50-year-old economist said it was TVBS that suggested he focus on exposing the irregularities of top government authorities. 'This was how I started my career exposing corruption and irregularities,' he said. His exposure of alleged corruption involving senior officials, including a close presidential aide, in the multibillion-dollar Kaohsiung subway construction project last year seriously dented the image of Mr Chen's government. Earlier this year, Mr Chiu dug up alleged wrongdoing involving the president's son-in-law, Chao Chien-ming. The arrest of Dr Chao last month for alleged insider trading dealt a further blow to Mr Chen, who, when he ran for the presidency in late 1999, had vowed to stamp out corruption and privileges if elected. He said he would end what he said was more than five decades of 'totally corrupt' KMT rule. That promise was a key reason Mr Chen won the presidency in 2000, but it has also become his biggest political problem. The opposition is seeking support from ruling party lawmakers for a recall motion that could lead to Mr Chen's ousting. Mr Chiu said he was proud of his efforts in making the island's leader face up to corruption allegations tied to his family. He said he would pursue his mission of attacking corruption and wrongdoing by the top authorities. 'Even if the KMT wins the presidential election in 2008, I will do the same,' Mr Chiu said. The father of three quit the People First Party, the second-largest opposition party in Taiwan, just after his divorce and joined the KMT. He said the most important quality for a graft-buster was a spotless personal record. 'You must not have a record of wrongdoing, otherwise you will suffer a tragic death. I happen to be a person with a clean record, and this means a great deal to my graft-busting efforts,' Mr Chiu said. The legislator, who grew up in a poor market neighbourhood, said some fellow lawmakers, whom he declined to identify, who had wanted to expose the wrongdoing of certain officials had been seriously hurt when their allegations backfired. 'I have never hung out in any improper places after work. I return home to be with my family as soon as I finish work. I consider myself to be a man with great discipline. This is why I don't get hurt after digging up all the dirt of others,' he said. The legislator said he had faced tremendous pressure since shifting his focus to the exposure of graft. 'My phones are tapped and I have been followed everywhere [by government agents]. I have received countless death threats,' he said. Mr Chiu said he was careful to make sure his children were well protected because of fears that someone might seek to avenge his deeds by harming them. But he was adamant that those fears would not stop him being a whistle-blower. 'Threats do not work. Some have offered big bucks to shut my mouth, but that does not work either,' Mr Chiu said, adding he did not really care about money after giving all his wealth - NT$500 million ($119 million) - to his former wife. Asked what it felt like to be called a graft-busting hero on the mainland, Mr Chiu, who received a PhD in economics from National Taiwan University and studied in a postgraduate programme at the prestigious Cornell University in the US, said Taiwan's press freedom had made it possible for him to make a difference. 'This has made it possible for me to do this, because the news media will report about what I have found out. But it would be difficult to do so in a society like the mainland where news freedoms are held in check,' he said. Mr Chiu was gagged last month when he attempted to speak on his graft-busting exploits at Peking University.