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KMT accuses Tsai of profiting from land speculation

2015/12/10 17:48:35

Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) Several politicians from the ruling Kuomintang on Thursday accused opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of gaining an estimated NT$180 million (US$5.48 million) in profits from land speculation in 1997.

At a news conference earlier in the day, KMT Legislator Wang Yu-min (王育敏) said that in December 1996, when Tsai was a commissioner of the Fair Trade Commission, she declared that she owned 19 plots of land. In December 1997, however, Tsai only held four plots of land.

In other words, Tsai sold 15 plots of land in 1997 alone, Wang said.

According to former KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), when Tsai bought the 15 plots of land in Taipei's Neihu replanning district in 1988, the announced land value NT$24,000 per ping (3.3 square meters). When Tsai sold the land in 1997, the announced land value was NT$264,000 per ping, up 12-13 times from the cost in 1988, he said.

NT$264,000 is 11 times NT$24,000, an increase of 10 times, not 12-13 times. Chiu's math, however, seems not quite correct, as the price increase was actually 10 times NT$240,000.

Based on the market value, the sale of the 15 plots of land totaling 271 pings could have generated a profit of NT$180 million, Chiu said.

In response, DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) said the KMT's accusation is merely a smear campaign.

Wang pointed out that the Taipei City government announced on Jan. 15, 1985 its plan to develop an industrial park in Neihu District, and Tsai did not purchase the land until 1988.

He said the purchase and sale of the land did not involve abuse of privilege or insider trading. As the land had been held for a long time before their sale, the transaction should not be considered property speculation.

Lawyer Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said Tsai only had ownership of 55 percent of the land, or 149 pings.

Tsai, meanwhile, expressed regret that the KMT was using unfactual figures to attack her.

She stressed that the case involves "no privilege, speculation or exorbitant profit," saying that she has declared her assets honestly and has put her assets in trust.

She explained that there was in fact only one plot of land, with 15 lot numbers, and that she sold the land simply because someone wanted to buy it.

Tsai said she could not remember the exact selling price of the land because it was a long time ago. It may take some time to look for the related information, she said.

(By Tseng Ying-yu, Sophia Yeh and Y.F. Low)