Fri, Nov 15, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Mystery tunnel found in probe of official’s brother

By Chien Li-chung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Members of the Shihlin District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday look on as a digger excavates land at a property used by Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung’s brother, Liu Cheng-chi. The property, on Taipei’s Yangmingshan, appears to be located on state-owned land.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Taipei prosecutors yesterday raided the home of Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung’s (劉政鴻) brother, Liu Cheng-chih (劉政池), on Yangmingshan (陽明山) amid allegations that he was illegally occupying public land, and found a cellar with a blocked-off tunnel leading to the house.

The Shihlin District Prosecutors’ Office, along with the National Property Administration (NPA), the Yangmingshan National Park Administration and Yangmingshan police, made the move yesterday following allegations by Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Ho Chih-wei (何志偉) that Liu Cheng-chih has violated the Soil and Water Conservation Act (水土保持法) and the National Park Act (國家公園法) by building on public land.

Ho said he had received complaints from members of the public that Liu Cheng-chih’s mansion on Chuanyuan Road, worth an estimated NT$770 million (US$26 million), was ruining the national park, and had been fined by the Taipei City Government and the park administration.

At 8:50am yesterday, the prosecutors’ office led the joint taskforce on a large-scale search of the residences of Liu Cheng-chih and his immediate family. Liu Cheng-chih was not at home at the time, but he was brought in at 3pm from Miaoli County for questioning. He was still being questioned at press time.

His daughters, Liu Kuan-ting (劉冠廷) and Liu Kuan-yu (劉冠余), were released on bail of NT$1 million and NT$2 million respectively.

Deputy chief prosecutor Su Pei-yu (蘇佩鈺) said that aside from possible violations of the Soil and Water Conservation Act and the National Park Act, the task force found a 210m-long basement after digging around the area.

The cellar — as large as a full-sized basketball court — was formed out of 12 large shipping containers (16.15m in length, 2.44m in width and 259cm high), with one of the containers serving as the entrance, Su said.

All in all, Liu Hung-chih may have illegally occupied 4,000m2 of public land aboveground and more than 600m2 underground, Su said.

The NPA’s management division section chief, Shen Man-hsein (沈嫚嫻), said the cellar clearly sits on national property and Liu Cheng-chih’s sealing off the tunnel to the mansion with concrete was a reason why the NPA had not detected the passageway in previous inspections.

The NPA would charge Liu Cheng-chih in accordance with the Measures on Handling the Seizure of Non-publicized National Real Estate (國有非公用不動產被占用處理要點) for the five years that he had illegally occupied the land, which would amount to about NT$2 million, Shen said.

Ho yesterday criticized Liu Cheng-hung for forcibly demolishing private residences in Miaoli’s Dapu Borough (大埔), while allowing his brother to illegally seize and use national property.

He added that it was impossible that the county commissioner did not know about his brother’s “investments.”

Liu Cheng-hung told reporters yesterday he was not clear on the details of the matter.

However, he added that: “As Taiwan is a country that respects the rule of law, the judiciary should handle the case in accordance with the law.”

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