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July 26, 2017

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Keelung Mayor Hsu expelled from KMT

Protesters from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday rallied in front of the Keelung City government, demanding the mayor from the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) step down after he was convicted of corruption.

Mayor Hsu Tsai-li was given seven years Thursday by a district court which found him guilty of colluding with others to sell a piece of land to the city government at a marked up price.

While Hsu vowed to appeal, the KMT summarily expelled him.

But DPP Legislator Wang To, the party's deputies to the Keelung City Council, and supporters rallied in front of the city government, demanding Hsu step down immediately.

They also demanded KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou treat Hsu's corruption case in the way it is handling the allegations against President Chen Shui-bian.

Ma, who showed Hsu strong support during his campaign for the Keelung mayoral seat, has apologized after Hsu was convicted.

But Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung from the opposition People First Party said Hsu's case has deeply hurt Keelung. He claimed that Ma's apology was only meant to protect the KMT chief's personal image.

Chen Chien-ming, secretary general of the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union, said the KMT should treat the Hsu case and the president's case equally, organizing a campaign to oust the Keelung mayor.

KMT spokesman Wang Yu-chen said the party had already treated the Hsu case "strictly and quickly with the highest standards."

As Hsu can still appeal his case, Wang said the KMT will respect Keelung citizens' choices, and will only persuade Hsu to step down "in private."

Asked whether the KMT would back Keelung citizens if they choose to launch a recall campaign against Hsu, Wang did not give a direct answer.

He said at present it is up to Hsu to decided whether he will step down. An aide of Hsu's said the mayor will appeal, and he believes that he will be vindicated.

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