Ko de­fends him­self over crit­i­cism that he stayed home dur­ing typhoon


Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je de­fended his ac­tions when Typhoon Soude­lor passed through Tai­wan, af­ter a post from his wife’s Face­book page re­vealed that the mayor was at home on Sun­day when the typhoon made land­fall.

In­for­ma­tion on the mayor’s where­abouts was re­vealed when Ko’s wife Chen Pei-chi posted pic­tures of them hav­ing din­ner to­gether last Sun­day. Ko re­vealed that he ar­rived home on Mon­day to find Chen weep­ing af­ter ne­ti­zens dis­par­aged Ko for leav­ing the city’s emer­gency re­sponse cen­ter while the typhoon passed through Taipei.

“Ever since my hus­band as­sumed of­fice, I have been able to count the num­ber of times he has been able to make it home for din­ner. I had no idea that my post on Face­book would cause him so much dif­fi­culty. Ha-ha, I am hereby apol­o­giz­ing to my hus­band,” she wrote.

Af­ter apol­o­giz­ing on Face­book for her post on Sun­day, Chen has since sus­pended her ac­count on the so­cial net­work­ing site. Ko re­marked that his wife might have been too easily af­fected emo­tion­ally by the crit­i­cisms aired online on Face­book.

Ap­pear­ing frus­trated in front of re­porters, Ko said that one could not ex­pect him to “catch the breeze of the typhoon” out­side while call­ing those who caused Chen grief “In­ter­net bul­lies.” He coun­tered their crit­i­cism, stat­ing that he was con­duct­ing of­fi­cial city busi­ness at home, and that he used the Line ap­pli­ca­tion to su­per­vise the city’s cri­sis man­age­ment, in­clud­ing the pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of ser­vice re­sump­tion for ma­jor ar­ter­ies.

Re­porters re­minded Kuo that then-sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Ex­ec­u­tive Yuan, Hsueh Hsiang-chuan, was heav­ily crit­i­cized for din­ing with fam­ily mem­bers on Fa­ther’s Day when Typhoon Mo­rakot rav­aged the is­land in 2009. Hsueh was later pres­sured to re­sign af­ter the public re­la­tions dis­as­ter. The mayor said he did not see what the fuss was about, with the vi­tal point be­ing that he was present via the Line con­nec­tion in or­der to give com­mands.

Taipei City Coun­cil­woman Lee Yen-hsiu re­buked the mayor, crit­i­ciz­ing his ab­sence while the Taipei Wa­ter Depart­ment be­gan re­port­ing spikes in wa­ter’s murk­i­ness. Her col­league Wang Hong-wei said that Ko only re­ported once to the city’s emer­gency re­sponse cen­ter last Satur­day.

“If one can use a cell phone and Line (dur­ing a typhoon), then we can close all emer­gency re­sponse cen­ters through­out Tai­wan,” said Wang.


Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je ex­presses frus­tra­tion while an­swer­ing re­porters’ ques­tions, yesterday. Ko was crit­i­cized af­ter it was re­vealed through his wife’s Face­book page that he was at home dur­ing the pas­sage of Typhoon Soude­lor last week­end. The mayor de­fended his ac­tions, say­ing that he was in full com­mand of the sit­u­a­tion.

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