Sun, Jan 05, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Councilors go for offer of amnesty

CONFESSION Prosecutors have confirmed that seven Kaohsiung City councilors have turned themselves in and admitted to receiving bribes from Chu An-hsiung

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office spokesman yesterday confirmed that seven Kaohsiung City councilors have turned themselves in and admitted to receiving bribes from newly-elected Council Speaker Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄) before the expiration of a 48-hour amnesty that prosecutors offered on Thursday.

Chou Chang-chin (周章欽), spokesman for the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office said that an eighth councillor, DPP Kaohsiung City Council caucus whip Jan Yung-lung (詹永龍), who has been in detention for a week on the charge of bribery admitted to prosecutors on Friday night that he also received a bribe of NT$5 million from Chu though he is not entitled to the amnesty offer.

Chou told reporters,"They have told us a lot of important information about the case and clearly explained the what, where, who, when and how of the case.

"Also, all of them agreed to hand over the bribes they received from Chu to us as evidence, while two of them have actually done so," he said at a press conference yesterday.

For the protection of the councilors involved, prosecutors declined to identify them.

But reporters stationed outside the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau Kaohsiung City Branch Office, where prosecutors and special agents have been investigating the case since Dec. 27, witnessed one PFP and three DPP councilors entering the building yesterday morning.

They were the DPP's Cheng Hsin-chu (鄭新助), Chiang Chen-lu (江振陸), Tsai Chang-ken (蔡長根) and the PFP's Tong Yen-chen (童燕珍).

Indeed, a five-man DPP task force, consisting of Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), and lawmakers Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), Hong Chi-chang (洪其昌) and Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) -- set up to investigate party members' involvement in the case -- announced yesterday that they will recommend that the DPP's Central Evaluation Committee expel Chiang, Cheng and Tsai.

The committee's Chairman Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄) said that the committee will convene to discuss the recommendation on Saturday.

Chou later confirmed that the councilors had entered the building in order to be interviewed by prosecutors.

Chou said that the councilors who had turned themselves in were now listed as witnesses and had been released after interviews. Charges against them will be suspended in accordance with the prosecutors' offer.

Chou said that DPP caucus whip Jan had also admitted that the NT$2 million in cash, which investigators discovered at his residence on Dec. 27, was part of the bribe.

"He said that he has spent NT$3 million on employees' paychecks and his own campaign expenses," Chou said.

Jan has been detained since Dec. 28.

In the meantime, Chou announced that the amnesty offered to suspected councilors had ended at 4pm yesterday.

To urge more suspected councilors to report to the prosecutors' office, Kaohsiung prosecutors announced on Jan. 2 that all charges against the suspected councilors would be suspended if they turned themselves in within 48 hours.

According to Chou, prosecutors issued 28 summonses to suspected councilors yesterday.

"The mercy period is over. But we hope that they will respond to our summonses on time. Otherwise, we may have to arrest them," Chou said.

Councilors enjoy immunity from prosecution while the council is in session.

The KMT and PFP declined to comment yesterday on suspected pan-blue councilors.

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