Thu, Nov 25, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Many candidates facing legal woes as election nears

IN THE SPOTLIGHT Eighteen candidates from almost every political party are facing unresolved civil or criminal charges ranging from libel to bribe-taking

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative candidate Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) is one of 18 candidates who are involved in ongoing lawsuits, but he said that his case will not affect his campaign.

"My next summons will be on Nov. 29 in Tainan, and I will attend that hearing on time and in person," Cheng said.

DPP Deputy Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said that DPP will support Cheng on every aspect for the case.

"What he did was for democracy, and we are all proud of him," Lee said. "We will do whatever it takes to help him whenever necessary."

Cheng is involved in an election-related case, in which he allegedly used his position as the then-director-general of the DPP's Culture and Information Department to defame a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Tainan City mayoral candidate in 2001.

During the mayoral election, the KMT's Chen Jung-sheng (陳榮盛), who is now a lawmaker, was campaigning with DPP's Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財). Cheng allegedly produced a TV commercial which said that Chen tried to boycott a budget for aid to children from low-income families, as well as a budget to establish an Internet connections in local elementary and junior-high schools.

Chen then filed the lawsuit against Cheng on charge of "trying to defeat an opponent's campaign through defamation."

During the first hearing at the Tainan District Court on Feb. 8, 2002, Judge Chien Hui-chuan (簡慧娟) ruled that Chen did not provide enough sufficient evidence to support his argument, so she decided to drop the charge against Cheng. Chen appealed.

At the Taiwan High Court Tainan branch on Feb. 24 this year, Judge Cheng Wen-su (鄭文肅) ruled against Cheng Yun-peng and sentenced him to six months in prison, but his sentence could be paid at a rate of NT$300 a day. Cheng Yun-peng appealed.

On July 22, Supreme Court Judge and Spokesman Chi Chun-chien (紀俊乾) decided to drop the High Court's sentence against Cheng Yun-peng and asked the court to rehear the case.

"Before the final verdict is handed down, I am innocent and a free man. And, I believe that the courts will prove me innocent, no matter what," Cheng Yun-peng said.

In addition to Cheng Yun-peng, among this year's 386 legislative candidates, 17 of them are currently in legal trouble. Three of them are DPP members, three People First Party (PFP) members, two KMTs, one Taiwan Solidarity Union and nine independent candidates.

Among these 18 legislative candidates, independent candidates Yen Ching-piao (顏清標), Lin Pin-kun (林炳坤), DPP's Hsu Chih-ming (徐志明), PFP's Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) and KMT's Ho Chih-hui (何智輝) have all been in the spotlight for their legal woes.

YEN CHING-PIAO

On Aug. 31 this year, Taiwan High Court Taichung Branch ruled that Yen Ching-piao must serve 13 years in jail and pay back NT$35 million in public funds he used to cover expenditures at hostess bars and KTV lounges.

Yen was charged with corruption, attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was first sentenced to 20 years by the Taichung District Court in 2001.

In 2002, the High Court reduced his sentence to 11 years and six months in prison. The Supreme Court upheld Yen's appeal and asked the High Court to rehear the case. The verdict on Aug. 31 was the result, but Yen appealed again.

LIN PIN-KUN

Lin was involved in a bribery scandal regarding the procurement of a wastewater purifying processor for the Chinese Petro-leum Corp in Kaohsiung. He allegedly accepted a NT$160 million kickback from the manufacturer and was sentenced to 13 years in jail by the Taiwan High Court in 1998.

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