Wed, Feb 28, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Prosecutors ask court to detain Taichung officials

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

After lengthy questioning, Taichung prosecutors last night asked the district court to hold incommunicado Taichung County Council speaker Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) and vice speaker Chang Ching-tang (張清堂) on several criminal charges.

As of press time, the Taichung District Court had not yet made its ruling on whether to approve the prosecutors' request.

Yen is accused of corruption, attempted murder and banditry, while Chang is accused of corruption, the spokesman for the Central Taiwan Special Investigative Force, Prosecutor Lee Ching-yi (李慶義), said last night.

Prosecutors yesterday morning searched the Taichung County Council and the homes of Yen and Chang and questioned some 20 people.

The prosecutors said several county councilors inflated their "public relations" expenditures to take money from the council's budget.

The chairman and vice chairman are also alleged to have taken part in this.

As for the attempted murder charge, Lee declined to be specific, but local media have referred to a shooting case in 1996, when people from Yen's office fired shots on a vehicle driving around the office in Shalu (沙鹿) Township.

Prosecutors suspect that Yen ordered the shooting.

The prosecution was tight-lipped on their investigative actions and findings yesterday.

Regarding the banditry charge, local media believe that the prosecutors are referring to a 1996 incident in which Yen allegedly used violence to blackmail a stock market-listed company.

Of the charges, only the county council corruption charge was "new," local media said.

Yen, however, insisted that he was innocent.

"I feel easy. I did no wrong," Yen said yesterday evening as he was being escorted by police from the Taichung County Office of the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau to the district prosecutors' office.

Asked by reporters whether he thought there were political factors behind the prosecutors' move, Yen said, "the public knows very well."

Prosecutors have also investigated a financial scandal involving the famous Chenlan Temple (鎮瀾宮), of which Yen is the board chairman.

Prosecutors did not charge Yen in the case yesterday. But vice board chairman of the temple, Cheng Ming-kun (鄭銘坤); his brother, who is also the chairman of Tachia (大甲) Township council, Cheng Ming-tsung (鄭銘宗); and an official of the temple, Liu Yu-lin (劉育麟), were charged with forgery and breach of trust, prosecutor Lee said.

The three were released on bail of NT$1 million NT$200,000 and NT$500,000 respectively.

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