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Fri, Feb 01, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Lo Fu-chu has his assault sentenced raised a notch

GUILTY AS CHARGED The former lawmaker and convicted hoodlum -- along with two former legislative colleagues -- lost their appeals on assault charges yesterday

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Convicted hoodlum and former independent lawmaker Lo Fu-chu (羅福助) and two former colleagues yesterday lost appeals against convictions for a 1998 assault on a DPP legislator -- and had their sentences increased to boot.

The Taiwan High Court (台灣高等法院) sentenced Lo and former KMT lawmakers Lin Ming-I (林明義) and Chou Wu-liu (周五六) to five months in prison, with the option to pay a fine of NT$135,000 instead.

Lo, Lin and Chou were originally convicted in March of last year for assaulting DPP Legislator Yu Jan-daw (余政道), causing him bodily harm, during a legislative session on June 15, 1998. At the time, the Taipei District Court (台北地方法院) sentenced them to 59 days in prison or a fine of NT$53,100.

Sitting legislators enjoy immunity from arrest and imprisonment unless a majority of legislators vote otherwise, but they can be prosecuted. Proceedings against Lo, Lin and Chou were initiated after Yu pressed charges.

Dismissing their appeals and handing down an extension of their sentences, yesterday's verdict said that Lo, Lin and Chou had no right -- especially as lawmakers -- to assault people over differences of opinion. It said that they had brought Taiwan's legislature into disrepute and shown no remorse.

In addition, the judges ruled that the verdicts were final, precluding further appeals to the Supreme Court (最高法院).

Lo's, Lin's and Chou's terms as lawmakers, and hence their legislative immunity, officially ended with the end of the legislative term at midnight yesterday.

Lo's lawyer, Tu Ying-ta (杜英達), said that his client would comply with the verdict.

"Lo has made clear that he would do whatever it takes to solve the problems and misunderstandings between Yu and himself," Tu said. "Lo has said that he did not do it on purpose and he has apologized to Yu. Since this verdict is final, he will pay the fine in accordance with the decision of the court."

Lo is the subject of three additional criminal investigations, including his assault on PFP lawmaker Diane Lee (李慶安), his alleged deception to obtain funds from Tashin Securities (大信證券) -- of which he is president -- and alleged threats made by him to extort money from board members of the Jin-wen Institute of Technology (景文技術學院).

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