Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hou Ho-shong indicted

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nantou prosecutors yesterday indicted Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hou Ho-shong (侯和雄) on corruption charges.

Prosecutors asked for a 20-year sentence and a NT$5 million (US$156,250) fine for Hou, who is considered a close associate of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

Prosecutors also indicted five other government officials and businessmen on the same charges.

"We believe that Hou has pocketed at least NT$350,000 from the state coffers," Nantou Prosecutor Wu Tso-yen (吳祚延) wrote in the indictment.

Wu asked the court for a 14-year prison sentence and NT$2 million fine for both Taiwan Water Corp vice president Yang Shui-yuan (楊水源) and Water Resources Agency Second River Management Office Director Chang Yi-min (張義敏), alleging that they had cooperated with Hou in return for potential promotion.

Hou had been held in custody since Aug. 7, but was released on NT$3.5 million bail immediately after his indictment.

Wu said that Hou allegedly took advantage of his position to get involved in seven flood-control construction projects. Yang and Chang allegedly collaborated with contractors Huang Yen-tung (黃燕同), Chen Hsien-chih (陳顯智) and Huang Ching-ho (黃清和) to help them win bids on the projects. Hou allegedly accepted bribes from the contractors in return for ensuring that they won the bids.

Prosecutors asked for an 11-year sentence and a NT$1 million fine for Huang Yen-tung and a 10 year, six month sentence and NT$1 million fine each for Chen and Huang Ching-ho.

Huang Chien-huei (黃劍輝), a spokesman at Hsieh's campaign headquarters, responded to news of the indictment by saying that an indictment was not the same thing as a conviction and that Hsieh respected the judiciary.

"Or how could the Chinese Nationalist Party's [KMT] Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was indicted for corruption, still be running for president?" Huang Chien-huei asked.

Additional reporting by Ko Shu-ling

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