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Speaker vows to continue mayoral campaign unless struck by bullet

2014/07/17 18:45:22

Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Jing-tai and wife, on July 10.

Taipei, July 17 (CNA) Keelung mayoral aspirant Huang Jing-tai gave a radio interview Thursday in which he pledged to keep campaigning unless "struck and killed by a bullet" despite having lost the support of his party, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).

The speaker of the Keelung city council told Hit FM host Clara Chou that he has obtained 50,000 signatures of support, which he said shows the people of the northern port city still want him to run in the Nov. 29 election for mayor.

Huang said he will hold a press conference Friday to unveil the exact number of signatures collected.

Asked by Chou whether the petition is credible considering it is only a list of names with no ID numbers, Huang dismissed the charge with a simple statement: "Credibility lies in everyone's mind."

Huang has continued his candidacy even after the KMT Central Standing Committee decided July 9 to withdraw his nomination amid allegations of taking bribes from real estate developers and construction companies and slipping opinion polls.

In his interview, he avoided answering whether or not he took the money, but said defiantly: "Please have the public tell me how there can be an election without spending any money. Introduce (someone who can explain that) to me, and I'll bow before him three times to show my respect."

Huang noted that since Keelung prosecutors conducted searches of his office June 17 and questioned him over alleged influence peddling, rumors have been rife that he would be replaced as the KMT's mayoral candidate.

He said that was the reason he decided to launch his signature drive in a bid to defend himself against the charges.

He also reiterated his resolve to stay in the race until the end, "unless I'm struck and killed by a bullet."

Speaking separately on Thursday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, a vice chairman of the KMT, said he respects Huang's decision to continue to run but added that the KMT is still looking for a replacement candidate.

Hau is one of four committee members who brought forth the motion to the KMT Central Standing Committee to drop Huang as its candidate for Keelung mayor.

(By Wang Chao-yu, Liu Chien-pang and Evelyn Kao)