The Taipei District Court yesterday granted the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) the right to detain former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) for two months in connection with a corruption investigation.
The court made its decision after almost seven hours of deliberation.
The SID had asked the court to detain Lin after prosecutors said Lin admitted to taking bribes from a company.
SID spokesman Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達) told a press conference that after a 12-hour questioning session that did not end until 4:10am yesterday, prosecutors concluded Lin might collude with others to destroy evidence, so they requested the court order he be held incommunicado.
Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), head of Ti Yung Co (地勇選礦公司), a metal-recycling company, has accused Lin of accepting a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) to help him secure procurement contracts from China Steel Corp (CSC, 中油) and two of its subsidiaries in 2010, and of asking for a further NT$83 million this year.
Chen Chi-hsiang was questioned and released without bail by prosecutors on Saturday. Lin’s wife, Peng Ai-chia (彭愛佳), a TV anchorwoman, was also summoned on Sunday afternoon and was released after two hours of questioning.
The SID spokesman yesterday said Lin was involved in two charges, including accepting a bribe and demanding a bribe.
Chen Hung-ta said Lin confessed to some parts of the charges during the questioning, but added that his confession would require further verification.
On Friday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) told a press conference that he was given an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Chen Chi-hsiang and Lin on March 10 this year. In the recording, Chao alleged that Lin not only asked Chen to give him NT$83 million, but also instructed Chen to give him the money in three installments.
The SID said Chen Chi-hsiang had handed over the audio recording to prosecutors, who used it during their questioning.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如), who served as Lin’s attorney and accompanied him during prosecutors’ questioning, said: “As I saw documents and information prosecutors showed during the questioning, I was shocked and found it hard to believe.”
Separately yesterday, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), son of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), alleged the SID had adopted a double standard by not handcuffing Lin, who is listed as a defendant in an alleged bribery case, when he was being taken to the Taipei District Court yesterday morning.
Chen Chih-chung said his father, who is currently serving a 17-and-a-half-year prison sentence for corruption, on November 2008 went to the SID for voluntary questioning, but the SID soon had him handcuffed after filing a request for his detention.
A picture showing the former president holding his cuffed hands up while shouting: “Political persecution, judicial persecution” and “Taiwan, jiayou,” after six hours of questioning then promptly went viral, Chen Chih-chung said.
Unlike Chen Shui-bian, Chen Chih-chung said Lin was left unshackled even after a similar judicial request was submitted by the SID.
“How could Lin Yi-shih be the only exception when, aside from Chen Shui-bian, [DPP lawmaker] Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) and [Yunlin County Commissioner] Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) were also manacled after detention requests were filed against them?” Chen Chih-chung asked.
In response, SID said Lin was unfettered in accordance with the amended version of the Use of Manacles of Judicial Police of Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office (高檢署法警使用戒具要點), so his treatment was appropriate.
Chen Hung-ta said that in light of the public outcry sparked by Chen Shui-bian’s handcuffing, the Ministry of Justice proposed an amendment to the relevant regulations on Mar. 18, 2009.
Lin was not handcuffed because his case conformed to Item 5 in Article 6 of the amended law, which stipulates that defendants who responded to summons, voluntarily surrender or came for a voluntary questioning were, upon questioning and notification of summary arrest by prosecutors, exempted from being handcuffed, he said.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, staff writer
This story has been updated since it was first published.