Nantou District Prosecutors Office yesterday indicted Nantou County Commissioner Peng Pai-hsien (
Five county officials and 11 businessmen were indicted along with Peng.
Authorities continued to question Peng throughout the day and into the evening yesterday. As of press time, it was not yet decided whether Peng would be released on bail or continue to be held for further questioning. Peng has already been in detention for two months.
The prosecution said it requested the harsh sentence for Peng because he had taken advantage of the misfortune of others to make money for himself, as well as the fact that there were multiple charges against Peng.
Outside the district court offices, Peng's supporters rallied all day yesterday for his release. Riot police were called in to keep an eye on the situation but the protests remained peaceful.
Prosecutors alleged that Peng and his close aides had misappropriated over NT$13 million in quake relief funds.
"After the quake, many people willing to donate money were not aware of the distinctions between government relief funds and [Peng's] New Nantou (新南投) Foundation and the Nantou County Construction and Development Foundation (南投縣建設發展基金會)," Nantou divisional head prosecutor Hsu Sung-kuei (
"Peng and his confidential secretary, Cheng Su-ching (
In the latter case, the money defrauded amounted to some NT$13.52 million, Hsu said.
But those close to Peng refuted the charges.
"This is an absolutely absurd indictment; we cannot accept it," said Cheng Su-ching in an interview with TVBS.
She said after the quake, people were uneasy donating money to the government relief efforts because they thought that giving money to a private fund would be better for quake victims since the government response was bound to be slow.
"It was under these circumstance that we offered them the option of donating to the Nantou County Construction and Development Foundation," Cheng said.
She stressed that the foundation was committed to reconstruction work.
"We did not take a cent from the foundation funds, nor did the foundation get a cent from the county government or any governmental relief fund," she said.
Stella Chen (陳婉真), director of the county's Social Affairs Bureau, also said "the prosecution is misleading the public by indicating the foundations as if the money had come straight out of Peng's own pockets."
The prosecution has also alleged that Peng was behind bid rigging in several post-quake reconstruction projects, including that of the county government's temporary office building.
The indictment says Peng bypassed public bidding procedures and awarded the contracts to companies he favored and in exchange for political support.
The prosecution also requested a 10-year sentence for Cheng Su-ching, 10 years for Chen Ming-chuan, 20 years for the county government advisor Pai Hsi-min (白錫旼), 15 years for the county government's contractor for construction design Wu Cheng-hsun (吳政勳) and seven years for the county government's policy planning unit director Tsai Pi-yun (蔡碧雲).
Peng, a political independent, was once a close associate of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), when both were DPP lawmakers. Peng withdrew from the DPP in 1997 when he decided to run for the post of commissioner after he was not nominated by the party.
Peng won the election by a narrow margin ahead of his KMT and DPP opponents.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
‘INCREASINGLY FAVORED’: Taiwan’s ‘transparent laws and efficient courts’ as well as its financial institutions give it a major advantage to become a financial hub, Tsai said Taiwan would liberalize banking and investment rules to establish itself as a regional financial hub, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the Taiwan Capital Market Forum in Taipei yesterday. Recent world events could be an opening for Taiwan to become an international center for business investments and financial management, Tsai said at the forum, which was organized by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister publication of the Taipei Times). “We’re facing unknowns in the world right now, including the continuing impact of US-China trade tensions and the reorganization of the global supply chain after COVID-19,” Tsai said. “These bring new challenges and opportunities.” Tsai
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would