Peng may be released next week

GRAFT: Prosecutors decided not to ask for an extension of the Nantou County commissioner's detention order, meaning he might be released next week

By Jou Ying-cheng  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 2

Nantou District Prosecutors yesterday said they would not seek an extension of Nantou County Commissioner Peng Pai-hsien's (彭百顯) detention.

Chen Wan-chen (陳婉真), director of Nantou County's Bureau of Social Affairs, who started a hunger strike on Monday to demand the immediate release of Peng, however, sued the prosecution for what she called "unlawful detention" of Peng.

"A result will be out by Jan. 13, in any case," Nantou divisional head prosecutor Hsu Sung-kuei (徐松奎) said.

The result will mean either that the prosecution will indict Peng or that it won't, Hsu said.

Peng has been remanded in custody on a Nantou District Court ruling since Nov. 14 on suspicion of misappropriating post-quake relief donations and unlawfully manipulating the contracting process for reconstruction projects.

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, an accused person cannot be detained for more than two months during an investigation, but prosecutors may request one further period of detention of the same duration.

Peng's detention is therefore due to expire Jan. 13, while midnight yesterday was the deadline for the prosecution to petition the court for an extension of Peng's detention for up to two more months.

This means that Peng must be released by Jan. 13 unless he is indicted. If he is indicted, he could either be released or be subject to a new period of detention by the court, Hsu said.

Peng's supporters have been claiming that no evidence of his alleged corruption has been found.

Peng's wife, Wu Wen-wan (吳文婉), yesterday attempted to dissuade Chen from accusing the prosecution by reading out a letter from Peng calling on his supporters to stay calm. Chen did not accept, however.