Court rules in fa­vor of Gou in defama­tion suit

Po­lit­i­cal pun­dit Chou or­dered to pay NT$2 mil. in dam­ages


The Tai­wan Taipei Dis­trict Court ruled in fa­vor of Hon Hai Pre­ci­sion In­dus­try Co. Chair­man Terry Gou ( ) yesterday in his defama­tion suit against po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Clara Chou ( ), or­der­ing her to pay NT$2 mil­lion in dam­ages and sub­mit a writ­ten public apol­ogy.

Chou re­leased a state­ment on Face­book stat­ing that she in­tends to ap­peal the rul­ing. Gou had orig­i­nally sought NT$10 mil­lion in dam­ages.

In a Jan­uary law­suit filed by Gou against Chou for defama­tion, the busi­ness ty­coon ac­cused the po­lit­i­cal pun­dit of falsely iden­ti­fy­ing him as the donor of NT$300 mil­lion to then Kuom­intang (KMT) can­di­date for Taipei City mayor Sean Lin ( ). Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ), who ran against Lin, stated in a tele­vi­sion talk show that an en­tre­pre­neur had given his op­po­nent a size­able do­na­tion of NT$300 mil­lion. Chou stated later that Gou was the en­tre­pre­neur Ko was re­fer­ring to.

In its rul­ing, the court stated that Chou did not pro­vide suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to prove that the large do­na­tion was from Gou, and that she did not cor­rob­o­rate the ac­counts of the Hon Hai chair­man or that of Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party (DPP) law­maker Ker Chien-ming ( ).

In falsely ac­cus­ing Gou of vi­o­lat­ing the Po­lit­i­cal Do­na­tions Act, the court ruled that Chou had dam­aged Gou’s so­cial rep­u­ta­tion and or­dered her to pay NT$2 mil­lion in dam­ages. A printed state­ment of apol­ogy was also to be pub­lished in ma­jor lo­cal news­pa­pers.

In a pre­vi­ous state­ment, Ko said he had asked Ker to seek Gou’s sup­port dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, and that the law­maker had said “Gou sup­ports the op­po­nent and has given NT$300 mil­lion and does not want to switch sides.” Ker later stated that Ko had mis­spo­ken, and that his in­ten­tion was to state that Gou had al­ready do­nated the said amount to for­mer Mayor Hau Lung-bin ( ) to con­struct the Tai­wan Pav­il­ion at the 2010 World Expo in Shang­hai.

Chou Will Ap­peal

In re­sponse to the rul­ing, Chou said she re­spected the judges’ rul­ing, has con­fi­dence in the ju­di­ciary and will ap­peal the case “to the very end.” She added that her le­gal team will be tak­ing the next ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions.

She is cur­rently em­broiled in four other high-pro­file defama­tion suits. Late last year she ac­cused three ad­vi­sors of Pres­i­dent Ma Ying­jeou, in­clud­ing for­mer pres­i­den­tial spokesman Lo Chih-chi­ang ( ) of re­ceiv­ing un­der-the-ta­ble do­na­tions from oil man­u­fac­turer Ting Hsin In­ter­na­tional Group (

). Lo and other ad­vi­sors have since filed three sep­a­rate defama­tion suits against Chou at the Taipei Dis­trict Pros­e­cu­tors Of­fice. Chou is also the tar­get of another suit for pub­licly ac­cus­ing KMT pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hung Hsiu-chu ( ) of fal­si­fy­ing cre­den­tials re­lat­ing to her master’s de­gree.

In re­sponse, Chou stated on Aug. 13 that her ac­cusers are wast­ing le­gal re­sources.

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