Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Commissioner is officially a fugitive; conviction upheld

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yunlin County Commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味) was declared a wanted man by Yunlin prosecutors yesterday, even as his conviction for his involvement in the 1994 Yunlin County Council speakership election bribery case was upheld, although his sentence was reduced from 22 months to 12 months.

In accordance with the law, judges must issue an arrest warrant for a suspect if he or she fails to report to prosecutors after three summonses. Then, the person will be declared a fugitive if three attempts to arrest the individual fail.

Chang is wanted by prosecutors in relation to a bribery scandal involved with the Linnei incinerator construction project.

Yunlin County Government Civil Affairs Bureau Chief Huang Ding-chuan (黃定川) said that the commissioner will soon become the "former" commissioner, once the county government receives the official notice from prosecutors regarding his fugitive status.

"According to the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法), Chang's title must be suspended, which will take effect once we receive the notice [of his status]," Huang said.

Speaking on behalf of the commissioner with regard to his conviction being upheld, Chang's lawyer Lee Chien-chung (李建忠) said that he will appeal.

Yesterday's ruling was the third time the Taiwan High Court has handed down a sentence to Chang, who has twice appealed to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decides to uphold the High Court's ruling, the case is given back to the High Court for review. Chang's reduced sentence -- from 22 months to 12 months -- was the result of this process.

Lee said that he will file another appeal to the Supreme Court within 10 days of receipt of the official verdict from the Taiwan High Court.

"Usually, when an appeal is filed, the Supreme Court will uphold the High Court's verdict or rule in favor of the defendant's appeal, thus ordering the High Court to begin a retrial, within six to 12 months," Lee said. "My client and I believe things will be different then."

Usually, it takes up to 12 months for the High Court to reach another verdict.

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