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May 27, 2017

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Ma 'never intended' to hide green card

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou yesterday maintained that he had not violated any law by possessing a U.S. green card and that he never intended to hide the fact he was once a permanent U.S. resident.

He maintained that when he returned to Taiwan and became then President Chiang Ching-kuo's English secretary, his U.S. residency was not against any government regulation of the time.

"President Chiang Ching-kuo never asked about the (green card) issue," said Ma, who served as the late leader's aide in 1988.

"Neither did I mention it specifically to Mr. Chiang nor intend to hide the fact from him, because holding a green card was not against any government regulation at the time."

The KMT hopeful reiterated that his green card was invalidated long ago.

He challenged his rival candidate, Frank Hsieh, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party to make public any evidence, if any, to prove that he had done anything illegal.

But Hsieh said had Ma told Chiang about the green card, the president "absolutely" would not have employed him.

Asked if he would expose more information about the Ma case in two days as he had promised, Hsieh said he is screening the information he has been given, and verifying some of it.

"There may be some delay in making it public, but it is a very serious matter in that whether a person who would become the president should hold a green card," said Hsieh.

Questioning Ma's loyalty to Taiwan, Hsieh claimed a green card holder could catch a plane and leave the island anytime while others were being stranded without a visa to go anywhere during times of turmoil.

"He said his green card was invalid. How do you know it is really invalid?" said Hsieh, adding he still has to verify the KMT rival's claims.

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