DPP Legislator Ker Chien-ming (center) at a press conference Saturday.
Taipei, Sept. 28 (CNA) A controversy over phone tapping by the country's Special Investigation Division (SID) escalated Saturday, with an opposition lawmaker charging that the Legislative Yuan's phone had been monitored and the legislative speaker calling for the truth to be revealed.
"Eavesdropping on the parliament of a democratic country is an unbelievable action," Legislative Speaker Wang Wang Jin-pyng said.
The truth must be told, he added.
Earlier in the day Legislator Ker Chien-ming, a caucus whip of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), told the press he had received notice from the court that the wiretapping of his phones had been discontinued, following his acquittal in a breach of trust case.
The notice listed several numbers that had been under surveillance, including his cell phone number and the Legislative Yuan's switchboard number 0972630235, Ker said.
"Even the parliament was being monitored," Ker said at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan, which was also attended by DPP legislators Wu Ping-jui and Kuan Bi-ling.
At the news conference, Wu and Kuan both called the 0972630235 number from their cell phones and an amplified response was heard saying, "This is the Legislative Yuan. How do you do..."
Ker denounced what he called the SID's abuse of authority and called for the special unit to be scrapped.
Meanwhile, at a separate press conference Saturday morning, acting SID spokesman Yang Jung-chung repeatedly denied Ker's accusation, which was reported in a morning newspaper.
The SID "has never eavesdropped on the switchboard of the Legislative Yuan," Yang said several times. He said 0972630235 is the number of a cell phone used by an individual.
However, Tsai Wei-min, head of the Legislative Yuan's General Affairs Department, told the press the same day that the number has been used by the Legislative Yuan since August 2006 as part of a cost saving system.
It is not possible for that number to be used by an individual on a private phone, Tsai said.
Citing Ker, the news report said that the SID had monitored not only the DPP lawmaker's phone but also those of prosecutor Lin Hsiu-tao, who was in charge of the breach of trust case, and her family members.
On Sept. 6, the SID alleged that Wang had pressured Lin into not appealing a breach of trust case in which Ker was found not guilty by the Taiwan High Court after two previous guilty verdicts.
The SID said its allegations were based on information obtained from a wiretap on Ker's phone.
Wang allegedly lobbied Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu and Taiwan High Prosecutors Office chief Chen Shou-huang to make sure that the prosecutor would not appeal the not-guilty ruling.
The allegations led to Tseng's resignation and an attempt by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) to strip Wang of his party membership. Wang, however, obtained an injunction from the Taipei District Court to retain his KMT membership for the time being, which means that he has the right to keep his position as legislative speaker and legislator-at-large.
The case has given rise to public controversy over alleged abuse of authority and the legitimacy of wiretapping and has created a political storm in the legislative and administrative branches of government.
(By Tseng Ying-yu, Liu Shih-yi and Elizabeth Hsu)