Newspaper article China Post

SID Blunder Marks Time for Revamping Corruption Busters

Newspaper article China Post

SID Blunder Marks Time for Revamping Corruption Busters

Article excerpt

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Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming apologized late Saturday to the public, hours after the Special Investigation Division (SID) denied wiretapping the Legislative Yuan's switchboard number.

The SID said in an earlier press conference on the same day that it monitored the number 0972630235 in May thinking it to be a private mobile phone number.

The 0972630235 number has for seven years been the Legislative Yuan's switchboard number. The number represents a cost-down switch system handling outgoing calls from 30 extensions and is different from the one (02-23585858) listed on the Legislative Yuan website.

This is where Huang came in. He apologized for the misinformation concerning the number but again denied that the SID knowingly wiretapped the Legislative Yuan. Several lawmakers, even some from the ruling Kuomintang, yesterday called for Huang to resign.

Whether by mistake or by design, the unchanged fact is that the SID has eavesdropped indiscriminately on elected officials. It is beyond comprehension that the nation's top investigative agency would fail to recognize the Legislative Yuan switchboard after four months of surveillance. The SID has either grossly abused its power or has been outrageously incompetent. Both cases call for reform of the organization.

The SID was formed in 2007 to specifically investigate major corruption cases. It is also tasked with probing the rigging of national elections, major economic crimes and cases assigned by the prosecutor-general.

Calls for the disbanding of the SID first appeared in 2012 after opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers accused the division of "prosecuting pan-green politicians while letting pan-blue ones off the hook." After recent revelations of the breadth of the SID surveillance net in the investigation of alleged influence peddling by Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and DPP caucus whip Ker Ching-ming, some pan-blue lawmakers joined in the opposition's questioning of the continual existence of the SID. …

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