Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Yen Ching-piao (
Yen, who was sentenced for misusing public funds during his term as Taichung County Council speaker as well as for illegal possession of firearms, also had his civil rights suspended for six years in yesterday's ruling.
Taichung County Council Speaker Chang Ching-tang (張清堂), who was Yen's vice speaker, was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison and Tsai Wen-hsiung (蔡文雄), Yen's former secretary, received eight years and two months in the same case.
The trio must also return NT$30 million (US$93,000) to the state coffers. The three can appeal to the Supreme Court.
The court found Yen, Chang and Tsai guilty of spending council funds between 1998 and 2000 to cover their expenditures at hostess bars and KTV lounges.
According to the ruling, the trio, who patronized such establishments every two or three days, used more than NT$30 million of the council's budget, and were still in debt to various hostess bars for about NT$10 million.
The judges condemned the defendants' misuse of their positions.
Yen, chairman of Chenlan Temple (
Yen was in custody for several months during the investigation into the graft case.
Asked for comment, Yen Ching-piao protested his innocence and said he would appeal the case.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FLORA WANG