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KMT VP candidate vows to donate profits from property deals

2015/12/08 17:23:22

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) Kuomintang (KMT) vice presidential candidate Wang Ju-hsuan (王如玄) said Tuesday that she will donate the NT$13.8 million (US$420,000) in profit that she made from military housing unit transactions more than 10 years ago.

Speaking at a press conference, Wang admitted that she and her husband had purchased 12 military housing units, starting 1993, and had sold nine of them before 2003.

Wang said that she stopped investing in military housing units between 2005 and 2006.

She said she and her husband, her mother, and her sister each own one of the remaining three housing units.

All of the transactions were legally declared to the tax office, Wang said, responding to allegations of property speculation.

Displaying the property declarations she and her husband filed over the past 22 years, Wang denied that they had bought 19 military housing units, as some people have alleged.

Faced with a growing controversy over the military housing transactions and a possible negative impact on the KMT's election campaign, Wang apologized over the issue at the press conference, saying that when it first arose she did not fully comprehend the people's expectations of a vice presidential candidate.

"It was Jason Hu's (胡志強) comment that struck me," she said, referring to a remark by the KMT's presidential campaign manager Monday that "Wang may have overlooked the matter, but conduct within the confines of the law is not enough when running for election."

Wang told the press that she thought she had clarified the issue, but realized recently that not only Hu but also many of her supporters were still confused about the matter.

Military housing units are built for servicemen and their families and have certain restrictions on buying and selling.

Wang said that she had bought the 12 military housing units years ago before she was in the public service. As a lawyer, she was acquainted with real estate agents, who recommended that she purchase the units as an investment, Wang said.

"At the time, I thought that as long as the transactions were legal, there would be no problem," she said. "It was a reasonable form of investment and money management."

However, she said, the recent controversy over the issue gave her a different perspective.

"I tried to better understand the purpose of the military housing policy and began to realize that I had let down some people," Wang said. "I'm sorry I failed to meet the moral standards expected of me, and I apologize for the controversy in the society."

She promised to donate the NT$13.8 million she had made in profit from the housing investment but did not specify where the money would go.

The election campaign should be concentrated on the policies and future development of the nation, she said, adding that it is not fair to the electorate to focus the discussions on false accusations.

Wang served as country's labor minister from 2008 to 2012. She was named on Nov. 18 as the running mate of Eric Chu (朱立倫) on the KMT's presidential election ticket.

(By Claudia Liu, P.C. Tang and Lillian Lin)
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