The following heated exhange took place in the legislature's finance committee one year ago:
PFP Legislator Chen Chih-bin (
Lee Yung-san (
Chen: But everyone knows that [Tuntex's] Chen invested in the company.
Lee: He merely built the factory for China and transferred technology. According to an investigation by the Mainland Affairs Council (陸委會), he has no property registered under his name in China ... He's still doing business in Taiwan.
This exchange was brought on by the question of whether Chen had left his debts behind in Taiwan. After crossing swords with law-makers, Lee said something that no one found acceptable: "Chen's assets are still in Taiwan."
All of a sudden, ordinary people have finally realized why these "magnates" running into debt have all tried to avoid clearing their bank loans.
It is because the financial institutions haven't got a clue about the ability of these debt-evading tycoons to move their capital. What is even more deplorable is that government officials even speak on behalf of these shirkers.
When Lee said, "Chen's still running a business in Taiwan," it grated on those who know Chen in person or who used to work for him.
Apart from Chen, Hone Shee Group (
Wang owns a five-star hotel in Hangzhou. He left behind NT$88.5 billion in bad debts at Chung Shing Bank. Chen, Chang and Tsay and their affiliated businesses borrowed a total of more than NT$300 billion from local banks.
Despite the massive debts they left behind in Taiwan, these tycoons have shown their prowess across the Taiwan Strait. Chen set up his Xianglu Group in Xiamen. Chang and often invites influential Chinese officials to play golf at his Hone Shee golf course in Beijing. Tsay, hailed as "the King of Dalian," has seen the value of his shopping mall in Dalian City, northeast China, quadruple.
Core Pacific Group chairman Shen Ching-ching (
Let's have a closer look at the bad debts these entrepreneurs have left behind at Taiwan's financial institutions. Chen and Chang each owe nearly NT$100 billion. Tsay owes more than NT$10 billion yet he is still influential in both Taiwan and China. Faced with massive bad debts at local banks, even the finance ministry can do nothing about it.
Insufficient collateral is the banks' problem. This is an idea shared by all the tycoons who have left their debts in Taiwan. The debts left behind by Chang, Chen, Tsay, their affiliated businesses, friends and relatives are seriously short on collateral.