Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) and Yunlin County Council Deputy Speaker Shen Tsung-lung (沈宗隆) were indicted on corruption charges yesterday, with prosecutors asking for a 15-year jail sentence for Su and 13 years for Shen.
Prosecutors also suggested Su be deprived of her civil rights for eight years and be required to pay back the NT$21 million (US$636,000) she is alleged to have taken in bribes in two separate cases. They suggested Shen lose his civil rights for eight years and that he be required to pay back NT$16 million.
Following the indictments, the Yunlin District Court began a hearing to decide whether to release Su or continue to detain her.
At press time yesterday, the hearing was continuing and Su was in the court awaiting the judges’ decision.
She did not respond to reporters when asked to comment on her indictment.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Su’s indictment would not affect its decision on Thursday to name her as a candidate for next year’s Yunlin County commissioner’s election.
Su was taken to the prosecutors’ office yesterday from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Huwei Township (虎尾), where she was taken on Wednesday night for treatment after going on hunger strike shortly after her detention on Nov. 3.
Su was escorted to the prosecutors’ office by court guards and medical staff.
Prosecutors alleged that she accepted bribes worth NT$5 million from a construction company in return for waiving the environmental impact assessment of a landfill construction project so the contractor could complete the project as quickly as possible.
Prosecutors alleged Su also accepted NT$16 million in bribes from the contractor that built the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Yunlin.
Shen was alleged to have accepted part of the bribe money from Su in return for helping her.
Meanwhile, Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) continued his hunger strike yesterday to protest against his detention for suspected corruption.
DPP caucus whip Chang Hua-kuan (張花冠) said DPP legislators would visit Chen at the Chiayi Detention Center today in a show of support.
“A hunger strike is the humblest, yet the most severe form of protest,” Chang told a press conference at DPP caucus office yesterday morning. “He [Chen Ming-wen] would only have begun one because he felt desperate.”
Chang talked about Su and Chen Ming-wen, but refused to comment on former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) fast, saying his case was “a lot more complicated.”
“In Chen Ming-wen’s case, prosecutors have not questioned him or released him. It is not right to keep somebody in jail if you cannot prove their guilt,” Chang said.
Chen Ming-wen’s wife Liao Su-hui (廖素惠) submitted a petition to the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday requesting prosecutors speed up their investigation or release her husband.
Office spokesman Wang Chuan-cheng (王全成) said the case was a priority.
Liao’s petition asked prosecutors to allow her husband to have visitors because his family was worried about his health and would like to see him to make sure he was well.
“I will forward Liao’s request to the prosecutors concerned and ask them to consider it,” Wang said.
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