Sun, Nov 23, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Justice minister criticizes police for losing vote-buyer

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南) yesterday said he would urge the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office to ensure that police don't lose convicted criminals before they are sent to jail.

Chen's comments came after former Kaohsiung City Council speaker Chu An-hsiung's (朱安雄) escaped from under the noses of police last month after being sentenced to 22 months in jail for vote buying. Chu was supposed to report to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office to begin his jail term on Oct. 16 but an investigation showed that he fled the country on Oct. 10, despite supervision by officers.

"Chu ran away," Chen said. "But there is something we can do and must do to make up for it. For instance, we can ask our law-enforcement officers to carefully write down their work log and pass it on their colleagues when they are taking turns to supervise suspects. Those who do not do so would be charged with the offence of forgery."

Chu is also facing another two verdicts. As a result, his 22-month sentence is likely to be increased.

On Nov. 27, the Kaohsiung District Court will reach a verdict on Chu's alleged NT$5 million vote buying during last December's speakership election at the city council. Chu originally denied the allegations but finally admitted to the crime after he realized he was definitely going to jail.

On Dec. 15, the district court will reach another verdict on Chu's elder brother Chu An-tai (朱安泰) and his wife Wu Te-mei (吳德美) for their involvement in a case linked to the An Feng Group, of which Chu An-hsiung was president. Judge Lin Shui-cheng (林水城) said that the court will reach a separate verdict on Chu An-hsiung when he is arrested.

Lu Juei-te (呂瑞得), the financial manager at the An Feng Group (安峰集團) was sentenced to four years for his involvement in the case on Sept. 29 this year.

In May of 2000, Kaohsiung prosecutors indicted Chu An-hsiung and his wife on charges of forgery and breach of trust.

With the help of Chu An-tai and Lu, the couple allegedly withdrew NT$22.7 billion from the company and pocketed the money for themselves.

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