Fri, Sep 08, 2000 - Page 1 News List

High Court overrules decision of lower court to release KMT legislator on bail

By Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan High Court yesterday overruled a district court decision that granted bail to KMT legislator Gary Wang (王令麟) and ordered the lower court to review the grounds for releasing the business tycoon.

Amid intense media scrutiny, the Taipei District Court in late August rejected a prosecutors' request to detain Wang.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office had charged Wang with forgery and breach of trust in a real estate transaction and released him on bail of NT$15 million. They had requested that Wang be remanded in custody to prevent him from collaborating with other parties to fabricate testimony or destroy evidence.

Prosecutors say Wang, chairman of Far Eastern Silo and Shipping (FESS, 遠倉公司), acquired NT$400 million by artificially inflating the sale price of land in Yangmei, Taoyuan County. FESS purchased the land in January 1998 and sold it to the Taiwan Development and Trust Corporation (TDTC, 台開) in November last year.

The High Court, having heard the prosecutors' appeal, ruled that the district court had given insufficient weight to the possibility that Wang might conspire with his co-defendant, Chung Ying-feng (鍾瑩豐), if allowed to remain free.

Wang is the eighth person to be charged in the land deal scandal. Others include three TDTC officials, three alleged go-betweens and the landowner from whom FESS bought the property.

In requesting the detention, prosecutors had argued that there was a possibility that Wang would collaborate with Chung, one of the alleged go-betweens who was charged in absentia and remains in hiding.

The prosecution also presented to the court evidence showing suspicious money transfers from Chung to Wang after the land sale.

The district court had found credible Wang's argument that the money he is alleged to have obtained fraudulently was the repayment of a debt by Chung, an old friend of his, and had nothing to do with the land deal.

But the High Court said yesterday that the source of the funds would require further investigation and that Wang's and Chung's testimonies on the money are crucial to discovery of the facts.

On that ground, the High Court found it reasonable for the prosecution to try and prevent collaboration between Wang and Chung.

The case has now been returned to the district court for review. This involves holding a further detention hearing. The judge who heard the initial hearing is debarred from presiding over the second hearing.

Wang is vice chairman of the Rebar Group (力霸集團) and also serves as the chairman of several subsidiary companies of the group, including Eastern Multimedia Group.

He is a three-term legislator who has served on the legislature's powerful finance committee, and is a major player among Taiwan's cable TV operators.

Meanwhile, KMT legislator You Hwai-yin (游淮銀), former chairman of the Medium Business Bank of Taichung District (台中企銀), was convicted and sentenced to three months in prison by the Taipei District Court for an offense under the Securities and Exchange Law. He can appeal to the High Court.

The court found that You covered up the bank's financial woes in 1996 in an attempt to deceive investors while the bank was trying to expand its capital.

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