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Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Court orders detention of former Taipei Water official

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei District Court has ordered a former senior engineer from the Taipei Water Department to be held incommunicado for his role in the ongoing Jin-Wen financial scandal.

Prosecutors suspect that senior engineer Huang Hsin-yi (黃心怡) illegally built water pipes for the Jin-Wen Institute of Technology and Ta Hsueh Shih Hsiang, a villa community built by a construction firm belonging to the Jin-Wen Group.

The illegally built pipes, they say, have deprived tens of thousands of local residents of water at peak hours for a decade.

Five Taipei Water officials have been questioned by prosecutors since Thursday in connection with the scandal, including Huang and his superior, former chief engineer Liao Tsung-sheng (廖宗盛).

The prosecutors released Liao and the other three early yesterday morning but recommended that the court detain Huang. The court approved the prosecutors' request in the afternoon.

According to prosecutors, two large water pipes were built to distribute water directly from the Ankeng (安坑) water distribution basin to the institute and the villa community in the early 1990s, though the connection hadn't been approved.

During peak hours, the illegal pipes leave tens of thousands of Ankeng residents suffering water shortages.

Prosecutors said the Jin-Wen Group had bypassed the normal procedure for applying for water supplies.

The group should have applied to Taipei Water's district business office, but instead contacted the construction corps headed by Liao in 1992.

The construction corps had no right to review or approve any application, but it arbitrarily approved Jin-Wen's application and carried out the construction, prosecutors said.

But Liao and Huang both denied any wrongdoing during questioning.

According to the prosecution, after building the pipes the construction corps did not charge Jin-Wen a fee -- a breach of the regulations.

Investigators' findings indicate that construction of the pipes cost tens of millions of dollars and was carried out at the expense of Taipei Water.

The prosecutors, however, declined to comment as to whether Huang or any Taipei Water officials had taken bribes from the Jin-Wen Group.

Liao also owns a house at Ta Hsueh Shih Hsiang. Prosecutors are investigating whether the house might have been a gift from the Jin-Wen Group.

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