The Taipei District Court on Friday issued a warrant for the arrest of former political talk show host Dennis Peng (???) after he failed to show for his trial in which he is accused of committing libel against President Tsai Ing-wen (???).
The court considered the 60-year-old Peng to be a flee risk and found that he is currently in the United States. As a result, it released a circular order for his arrest based on Article 84 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Peng, who was indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on March 31, failed to appear at two separate court hearings on July 28 and Oct. 20, after being subpoenaed, according to the court.
The former talk show host has repeatedly accused Tsai of never completing her doctoral dissertation to get a doctoral degree in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 1984.
In their indictment in March, prosecutors said they went through the relevant documents and evidence and determined that Tsai in fact completed her doctoral dissertation, passed an oral exam and obtained her doctoral degree.
They charged that Peng, an experienced media personality, spread inaccurate remarks without double checking the facts for his own personal gain, including to increase the viewership and click-through rate of his online talk show "True Voice of Taiwan."
The indictment came after Tsai took legal action in September 2019 against National Taiwan University law professor emeritus Ho De-fen (???); Hwan C. Lin (???), an associate professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and Peng, after they said her academic credentials from the LSE were fake.
The district prosecutors office decided not to indict Ho and Lin, explaining that the two had double-checked their claims as best as they could before making the accusations.
The office also did not find sufficient evidence indicating that the two scholars had malicious intent and wanted to denigrate Tsai and damage her reputation, it said.
Tsai's academic credentials have been the subject of discussion in Taiwanese media since Peng raised the issue in a Facebook post in June 2019, when Tsai was seeking re-election.
Following months of speculation about Tsai's academic credentials, the LSE issued a formal statement in October 2019 confirming that Tsai "was correctly awarded a Ph.D. in Law in 1984."
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel