Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Huang petitions justice minister

PLEADING INNOCENCE Wealthy speculator Huang Jen-chung placed advertisements in three Chinese-language newspapers denying that he owes millions in tax arrears

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hospitalized stock-market speculator Huang Jen-chung (黃任中) yesterday petitioned Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) about alleged unfair personal taxation by publishing a half-page advertisement in three Chinese-language newspapers.

In the advertisement, Huang argued that the government had erroneously charged him for tax arrears of some NT$1.37 billion, blaming law enforcement officers for detaining only him and not the nation's top 50 tax deadbeats.

"I'll pay due taxes that I owe the government, but won't pay a penny of what I don't owe," Huang said.

Huang, 65, is the son of a former president of the Judicial Yuan, Huang Shao-ku (黃少谷). He enjoyed many achievements during the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) rule, but his health has deteriorated over the past few years.

The alleged tax evader questioned the justice ministry's enforcement agency for detaining him, since his name did not appear on the list of the nation's top 50 debt deadbeats. He also denied making an illegal profit of some NT$5 billion in 1995 after selling off a stake in the Far East Air Transport Corp (遠東航空) that was owned by his company -- the Huang Lung Investment Co (皇龍投資).

Huang urged Chen to handle his case in a fair manner. Chen did not comment on the advertisements yesterday, but the enforcement agency released a written statement late yesterday, flatly rebutting Huang's accusations.

"The agency's measures and standards to collect debts from tax-evaders are consistent, making no exception for anybody," the statement said.

According to the agency, other debt deadbeats, such as Won Chuan-chuan (翁娟娟), chairwoman of a conglomerate, is currently in police custody. Wang Shih-hsiung (王世雄), a former KMT lawmaker and board chairman of the debt-ridden Top Group (尖美集團), and Hung Min-tai (洪敏泰), former head of the electronic appliances manufacturer Proton, have been released from detention while other blacklisted business tycoons were on the wanted list, the agency said.

The agency insisted that law enforcement officers track down deadbeats on the list, which was provided by the National Taxation Administration under the Ministry of Finance.

The list includes individuals who owe more than NT$10 million, and companies that owe more than NT$100 million, in tax arrears.

Although he has sought administrative remedies to nullify the tax-evasion charges against him, Huang failed to pay bail, which amounts to half the debt he allegedly owes the government. He therefore remained in detention, the agency's statement said.

A tax official, who refused to be identified, yesterday backed up the enforcement agency's move.

He said that the agency has followed due process to collect debts from Huang, because he didn't seem sincere about paying the arrears.

This allowed enforcement officers to seize his assets, prevent him from leaving the country and place him in detention.

The agency yesterday held an auction to sell of 21 pieces from Huang's antique collection, including ink paintings and porcelain, which may be worth more than NT$10 million.

No final deals were closed as the antiques' value is yet to be determined by professionals.

Huang has claimed bankruptcy and has debts of NT$5.5 billion, but the agency firmly believes that he secretly stashed away more valuable assets.

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