Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government on Friday asked Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the presidential candidate of the main opposition Kuomintang, to present evidence to backs his accusation that the state apparatus leaked his personal information.
Han was exposed by tabloid Next Magazine Wednesday to have purchased a luxury apartment in Taipei for NT$72 million (US$2.37 million) in 2011, a year before he took office as the general manager of Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corp.
The report raised questions about Han's integrity, as he has been promoting himself as a "plebeian" presidential candidate without a big fortune nor influential background.
DPP lawmaker Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) has blasted Han for "faking" his image as a common person.
In response, Han accused the media of invading his privacy on Thursday. He said the information about his property purchase in Nangang District from Taiwan Fertilizer Co. is personal information that is not open to the public because at the time of the purchase, neither he nor his wife Lee Chia-fen (李佳芬) held public office.
In a post on his Facebook page, Han strongly questioned the motivations of people who leaked the information.
Han said only Taiwan Fertilizer's construction arm and the National Taxation Bureau would have information about the transaction, which raised questions about where the magazine got its information.
He requested that government agencies should investigate any possible improper leaks of personal information.
Taiwan Fertilizer was established in 1946 as a state-run enterprise, and was privatized before it was listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 1998.
On Friday, Finance Minister Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) released a statement asking Han "not to shoot without aim."
He demanded the Kaohsiung mayor support his accusation with evidence.
"Any accusation against National Taxation Bureau staff members without evidence is a conduct of not just defamation but also harm to the long-standing efforts in the civil service system to maintain administrative neutrality," Su contended.
Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) recognized the declaration by Next Magazine that the media has the responsibility to keep the government in check, as well as the politicians who might shoulder the responsibility of running the nation in the future.
Su suggested Han refrain from being suspicious, referring to the latter's claim in August that the "state apparatus" might have installed a tracking device on his vehicle.
He urged Han to explain clearly the matters of which he was questioned, such as whether he had used his political connections to acquire a 20-year loan of NT$14 million from Taiwan Fertilizer to buy the property in 2011.
According to the Next Magazine report, Han sold the 90-ping (298-square meter) Nangang apartment in 2015 at a loss of about 3.5 percent of the price for which he had bought it.