Mon, Dec 30, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Kaohsiung speaker arrested for bribery

RULING Prosecutors held Chu An-hsiung and his wife after judges decided they were not convinced by the politician's statements about the speakership election

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Kaohsiung District Court yesterday granted a prosecutors' application to detain newly-elected Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) and his wife, Wu Te-mei (吳德美), on charges of bribery.

According to Judge Lin Shui-cheng (林水城), who is also the spokesman of the Kaohsiung District Court, the application was approved at 12:50pm yesterday.

During a raid to search at Chu's Kaohsiung residence on Friday night for evidence of vote-buying in the Kaohsiung City Council speakership election, a team of investigators, including prosecutors and special agents from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), discovered NT$3.5 million in cash, which prosecutors believe was set aside as bribe money.

Chu reported to the MJIB's Kaohsiung City Branch Office around 1pm on Saturday and his wife arrived around 6pm. After a nearly 20-hour interrogation, prosecutors decided to file the detention application, was immediately granted by the court.

"They defended themselves during the interrogation with prosecutors. However, judges did not believe their statements so they approved the prosecutors' request," Lin said.

According to Lin, the court hearing actually began at 1:30am yesterday because, in addition to Chu's and Wu's detention applications, judges also held a hearing to discuss whether to approve another request to detain PFP Kaohsiung City Councilor Wang Ling-jiao (王齡嬌). Around 4am, judges ruled Wang be released on NT$500,000 bail.

Prior to being released on bail, Wang had been interrogated for almost 21 hours because investigators discovered an usual NT$4 million transaction in her bank account, which she failed to clearly explain.

Earlier on Saturday night, the court also granted the prosecutors' request to detain DPP Kaohsiung City Council caucus whip Jan Yung-lung (詹永龍) on the same charge. His wife, Jan Wang Po-yun (詹王泊雲), was released on NT$200,000 bail. During the Friday night raid, investigators discovered NT$2 million in cash at Jan's home, which prosecutors believe was a bribe payment.

Following a prosecutors' summons on Friday night, Kaohsiung City Government's Bureau of Civil Affairs Director Wang Wen-cheng (王文正) finally reported to the prosecutors' office on Saturday night. He was released without any charges after a short interview.

Also on Friday night, another team of investigators, led by Chief Prosecutor Lin Ching-tsung (林慶宗), raided Wang's residence, where they discovered a heavy locked safe.

Wang was suspected of helping Chu distribute bribe money. In addition, the contents of the locked safe were suspected to be part of Chu's bribe packages.

According to Chou Chang-chin (周章欽), spokesman of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office, investigators confirmed that the safe only contained Wang's personal belongings after he let them see the contents on Saturday night.

"There was no relevant evidence of his being involved. So we decided to let him go," Chou said.

According to Article 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), Chu, Wu, Jan and Jan Wang could be detained for up to four months if necessary since the investigation is ongoing.

According to Tsai Sung-hsiung (蔡松雄), the newly elected vice speaker of the Kaohsiung City Council, he will sit in for Chu during his detention.

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