Sun, May 04, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Court threatens to arrest councilors if not at hearing

TOUGH STANCE Harsh measures had to be resorted to because only four of the 14 councilors summoned turned up at the trial in Kaoshiung

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

The Kaohsiung District Court yesterday announced its next court date and said that city councilors will be arrested and escorted to the hearing by the police if they fail to show up.

The scheduled court hearing is for a bribery case resulting from the 2002 Kaohsiung City Council speakership election, and 15 Kaohsiung City councilors will be summoned.

The court made the announcement yesterday because only four councilors attended Friday's hearing, which was the second hearing of the case, although the court summoned 14.

"We hope to wrap this case up as soon as possible. As a result, we hope that the indicted councilors would cooperate with us and attend the hearings when summoned.

If not, we will be forced to ask the police to arrest them and escort them here. This is the last thing we want to do," said Chief Judge Lin Shui-cheng (林水城), who is also spokesman for the Kaohsiung District Court.

According to the court, the third hearing of the case will be held on May 15. Judges will summon 15 independent Kaohsiung City Councilors, including former KMT members Tsai Ching-yuan (蔡慶源), Chen Han-sheng (陳漢昇), Huang Tien-tsai (黃添財) and Yang Ming-lang (楊敏郎); former PFP members Lee Jung-tsung (李榮宗) and Chien Chin-cheng (簡金城); former DPP members Lee Chiao-ju (李喬如), Chang Wen-hsiu (章玟琇), Chiang Chen-lung (江振龍), Chang Ching-chuan (張清泉); Huang Shih-lung (黃石龍), Tsai Chien-hsing (蔡見興), Chen Nai-ching (陳乃靜), Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源) and Chu Wen-ching (朱文慶) who were initially independent councilors.

Although the court has asked these councilors to attend the third hearing, there is still a legal excuse for them not to follow this order because they have judicial immunity during the council session, which will not be concluded until June 6.

The Kaohsiung District Court assigned three judges to the bribery case, including Lin and two other judges, Chen Ming-chu (陳銘珠) and Fang Bai-cheng (方百正), to take care of the first instance, although a first-instance trial is usually heard by only one judge.

During the second hearing on Friday, the four councilors, including independent Huang Fang-jen (黃芳仁), former DPP member Lin Kun-shan (林崑山), and former PFP members Yang Se-yu (楊色玉) and Lin Shou-shan (林壽山), all admitted to the crime and said that they regretted what they had done.

These four councilors are all independent now, as their political parties expelled them after they were indicted.

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