Sat, Jun 02, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Agents raid Keelung speaker's office in bribery probe

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors yesterday raided the office of independent Keelung City Councilor Chang Fang-li (張芳麗), who was elected council speaker on Thursday, on suspicion of bribery and vote-buying.

The council elected a new speaker to fill the position vacated by Chang Tong-rong (張通榮) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) following his election as Keelung mayor on May 12. The Keelung mayoral post was left vacant after former mayor Hsu Tsai-li (許財利), a KMT member, died in February.

The competition for the speakership was intense, with the KMT candidate and current deputy speaker of the council Tseng Shui-yuan (曾水源) losing to Chang Fang-li by one vote. Chang garnered 16 votes against Tseng's 15.

Chang Fang-li ran as an independent after failing to secure the KMT's nomination for the election. She announced her withdrawal from the KMT after winning the by-election on Thursday.

Keelung lead prosecutor Lee Jia-ming (李嘉明) told reporters yesterday that prosecutors had received complaints alleging Chang Fang-li offered a number of councilors NT$1 million (US$30,100) to vote for her.

Lee led seven prosecutors and a number of agents from the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau to raid Chang and several other councilors' offices and their residences, seizing a number of documents.

KMT councilors Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), Yu Tsan-fa (俞參發) and Chuang Jung-chin (莊榮欽) were summoned for questioning by prosecutors and agents.

The questioning was continuing as of press time.

Chang Fang-li yesterday chaired her first council meeting.

She told reporters she was "clean" and had done nothing wrong during the election.

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