Sun, Jan 11, 2004 - Page 1 News List

New evidence links Hualien speaker to drug-dealing case

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hualien County Council Speaker Yang Wen-chi (楊文值) is being investigated for ties to drug dealers, police said yesterday.

The investigation is the result of information obtained after the midnight, Friday, arrest of two Taichung men suspected of dealing in drugs in which shots were fired.

Agents of the National Police Administration's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) arrested the Taichng pair, 45-year-old Chen Hsien-chou and 38-year-old Shen Cheng-hsiung (沈正雄), when they were visiting their friends in Taichung's Liaoning Road. At the arrest, the police fired two gunshots at the suspects' vehicle, which caused no injuries, as the two tried to ram through a police road block. Nobody was injured.

After their arrest Chen and Shen gave evidence to the police about a drug deal involving a double cross and Hualien County Council Speaker Yang, a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

On Oct. 14 last year, police received a phone call from a resident of the county's Nanhua village saying that some people appeared to be dealing drugs in the area.

Seven officers hurried to the scene where they encountered four suspects, three of whom managed to, however, to escape arrest.

The police did manage to arrest Lai Chiao-jung (賴樵榕).

They also discovered 28 heroin bricks, which weighed a total of 10.64kg and were estimated to be worth more than NT$100 million, along with a pistol.

Police also discovered that three men ? Lee Wen-chien (李文漧), Chao Chi-chuan (趙啟全) and Chen Ding-chi (陳訂志) ? had been left in a vehicle with their hands and feet tied and blindfolded.

Officers suspected that these men were also narcotics dealers and that their unusual situation was the result of a drug deal gone wrong. While the three were taken to a police station there appeared to be insufficient evidence to support arrests being made.

Then Yang arrived at the police station, and subsequently left with Lee, Chao and Chi sending them to a local hospital at their request.

While Yang said that he was merely helping his constituents after having obtained police assent to their release, his political opponents claimed he used his position to force police officers to let the three suspects go.

This allegation was confirmed by Chen Hsien-chou and Shen when they arrested yesterday.

Chen Hsien-chou and Shen admitted to the police yesterday that they were part of a drug hijacking in Hualien. Officers saw three suspects escape at the scene, but there were actually seven of them. In addition, they also told the police that Yang was the principle organizer of drug dealing in the area and that was why he would help Lee, Chao and Chen Ding-chi.

The trio suspects turned themselves in two weeks after the incident, but Yang denied having any relationship with the drug dealers.

"There was no evidence to prove that Yang was related to these drug dealers but we have continued to investigate it," said Cheng Hung-chi (鄭鴻志), section chief of the CIB's First Division's Third Section.

Chen Hsien-chou and Shen's evidence is, therefore, considered a big break for the case.

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