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Thu, Aug 17, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors allege that lawmaker sold fake stocks

BLACK GOLD Members of a task force searched a KMT lawmaker's research room and apartment as part of their investigation. Their actions enraged the legislative speaker

By Jou Ying-cheng and Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two Tainan district prosecutors searched KMT Legislator Liao Hwu-peng's (廖福本) research room in the Legislative Yuan yesterday, alleging that the lawmaker has sold fake shares in Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子).

The prosecutors -- both members of an "anti-black gold" task force recently formed under the Ministry of Justice -- were accompanied by armed police.

Another group of prosecutors searched Liao's apartment at the Ta-an complex, a residential building for legislators, at roughly 4pm yesterday.

Taiwan High Court Prosecutor General Lin Jie-der (林偕得) said the search was part of an investigation into possible trading of phony Chi Mei shares by Liao.

Liao, a six-term legislator from Yulin, has earned the nickname "red envelop Peng" (紅包本) as a result of several accusations that he has been involved in shady financial deals.

To raise capital, Chi Mei has been planning to issue shares in itself since May. Earlier reports said fake stocks in the Tainan-based company have been in circulation.

Tainan district prosecutors are currently investigating the alleged fraud.

According to prosecutors, Liao visited the company with a friend last week to purchase 2,000 shares in the company.

Liao's friend allegedly paid NT$30 million for 1,000 shares in the company, which experts later said were fake.

During the search of Liao's Ta-an apartment, prosecutors seized more than 10,000 stock certificates that officials believe are counterfeit.

However, prosecutors declined to say whether the shares were for Chi Mei stock.

Criticizing the prosecutors' actions yesterday was Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), speaker of the Legislative Yuan, who insisted that any judiciary actions should not be carried out in the legislature without the speaker's permission.

"The parliament has absolute authority and autonomy, which the judiciary cannot tamper with," Wang said. "Any actions the judicial powers intend to carry out within the confines of the legislature shall have the speaker's permission.

"Thereby, the prosecutors and I have agreed no search should be conducted in the legislator's research room," Wang said.

The speaker's remarks came after he had a closed-door meeting with the two prosecutors searching Liao's research room.

Liao's assistants, who were at the research room and tried to stop the search, said the prosecutors did not show them a search warrant. But they also said the investigators did not take away anything from Liao's research room.

Lin and the two prosecutors, however, said that the search was in accordance with the law and they respected the legislature's autonomy.

Liao, who was in Yulin when the search was carried out yesterday, denied he has sold fake stocks and claimed that he was helping his friend, who had been deceived into buying fake stocks, to track down the con artist.

Liao said the prosecutors will have to conduct a thorough probe and deal with the matter carefully.

Following the incident, Wang said yesterday that head lawmakers from different parties will have a meeting today to address the issues of legislative autonomy and the judiciary's proceedings.

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