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Hsinchu Mayor apologizes over recent controversies

09/16/2023 12:35 AM
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Hsinchu Mayor Kao Hung-An (center) speaks with reporters during a visit to a local school in the city on Thursday. CNA file photo
Hsinchu Mayor Kao Hung-An (center) speaks with reporters during a visit to a local school in the city on Thursday. CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) Hsinchu City Mayor Kao Hung-an (高虹安), from presidential candidate Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) Taiwan People's Party, issued a video apology on Friday over recent controversies involving her, including accusations by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) city councilors that her "boyfriend" had tried to meddle in an event the city was planning to hold.

In the 2.5-minute video, Kao apologized for the extensive media coverage surrounding the man the DPP alleged was her boyfriend, Lee Chung-ting (李忠庭).

"(I) apologize to the general public and citizens for the recent controversies and extensive media coverage that have occupied a significant portion of media space," Kao said.

She announced that effective immediately, city government officials are prohibited from having private contact with Lee. Any violation will lead to severe punishment, Kao said, adding that she will also hold herself to the same standard.

However, Kao stressed that Lee has never intervened in any municipal decision-making and that only a limited number of city officials, who were old acquaintances of Lee, have maintained what she called 'social interactions' with him.

"Mr. Lee has never set foot in the mayor's office," she said.

Kao's remarks came amid controversies about her handling of potential conflicts of interest, following accusations from former Hsinchu City Cultural Affairs Bureau director Chien Kang-ming (錢康明) that Lee had attempted to meddle in the city's governance.

Chien, who said he was asked by Kao to "resign" by Sept. 10, accused Lee of seeking to interfere in city affairs by telling him how to deal with the city's New Year's Eve party.

According to Chien, Lee said it would be an event jointly held by Hsinchu City and County governments, and that Chien should leave the matter to him.

Kao is also awaiting trial in a separate corruption case, after being indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office in August in connection with the alleged misuse of public funds while she was a member of the Legislative Yuan from 2020-2022.

Kao has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Over the past few weeks, she has also been involved in multiple controversies, including allegations of a close relationship with property developers.

However her critics have not presented any evidence that she had violated laws or conducted herself in a way that has harmed the city she represents.

(By Kuan Jui-ping and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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