New Taipei City (新北市) prosecutors yesterday raided the office of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption involving Lu’s aide, Hsu Ju-sung (徐如松).
New Taipei District Prosecutors Office agents raided 50 locations in the morning and detained 30 people — including Hsu, five Hsinchu County councilors and several Hsinchu County school principals — who are suspected of accepting more than NT$10 million (US$345,000) in kickbacks from school procurement deals.
Prosecutors entered Lu’s office in the legislature at about 9am before searching Hsu’s desk and taking him in for questioning at 11:40am, according to staff at Lu’s office.
At an afternoon press conference, Lu defended the integrity of his long-time aide and accused the investigators of contempt of legislature for raiding a lawmaker’s office without giving notice, adding that it was a violation of Article 149 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), even though the legislature is in recess.
Lu, who represents Hsinchu City, and his office helped schools apply for subsidies from the Hsinchu County Government to purchase books and computer software, but they did not handle the money, Lu told the press conference.
Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Hsi-shan (林錫山) said the legislature was informed of the raid in the morning and sent a staffer to accompany the prosecutors during the raid.
The New Taipei District Prosecutors Office also called a press conference in the afternoon to outline the investigation.
The detained councilors are Lin Pao-kuang (林保光), Lin Kuang-jung (林光榮), Chao Yi-hsien (趙一先), Liu Liang-pin (劉良彬) and Cheng Mei-chin (鄭美琴).
This was not the first time that prosecutors have conducted raids and made arrests over corruption allegations while the legislature was in recess.
Investigators raided former KMT legislator Liao Fu-pen’s (廖福本) dormitory, which is considered the territory of the legislature, in August 2000, prompting Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to lodge a protest with the Ministry of Justice for what he said was contempt of the legislature.
Raids were made on the offices of DPP legislators Hsueh Ling (薛凌) and Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) in 2007, with prosecutors arresting Yao Sheng-chih (姚昇志), deputy director of Gao’s office.
In 2009, the DPP lodged a judiciary protest after then-DPP legislator Kuo Wen-cheng (郭玟成) was detained by investigators in the legislature, citing Article 74 of the Constitution, which states that lawmakers cannot be arrested or detained without the permission of the legislature except in cases when they were caught in the act of committing an offense or a crime.