Sun, Sep 21, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Justice ministry denies fugitive fraudster's arrest

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation yesterday denied a newspaper report that its special agents have arrested fugitive Chung Tai-lang (鍾太郎) in Canada and brought him back to Taiwan.

Along with former independent lawmaker Wu Tzer-yuan (伍澤元), Chung was indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office and is wanted by the Panchiao District Prosecutors' Court for his involvement in the 1992 Sipiantou (四汴頭) scandal, which involved a project to build a water-pumping station in Taipei County.

"I must correct the inaccurate news story that we have arrested him and brought him back. We know where he is and what he is doing in Canada but we have not brought him back," said Cheng Ming-shun (鄭明順), the bureau's deputy director-general.

According to Cheng, the bureau's investigations show that Chung completed a 35-month sentence in Canada on Sept. 19 for a fraud conviction. The bureau is working with Canadian authorities on the possibility of bringing him back to Taiwan.

Chung was the former president of Kuo-feng Construction Co. He fled to Japan on Dec. 7, 1995, while prosecutors were still investigating him for his involvement in the scandal. Since he never returned to Taiwan, the Panchiao District Prosecutor's Office indicted him on charges of bribery, breach of trust and corruption and suggested a 16-year sentence. The bureau's investigation shows that Chung eventually arrived in Canada. However, in October 2000, Canadian police arrested him for another crime that he committed in Canada.

The bureau said that in addition to Chung, Wu is also a fugitive from justice whom they have been trying hard to locate.

Wu, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member and director of the Taiwan Provincial Government's Planning and Development Department at the time of the scandal in 1992, was found guilty by the Panchiao District Court in 1996 and received a 15-year sentence.

In May 1998, Wu was released on NT$3.6 million bail for medical reasons and was forbidden to travel abroad. Seven months later, however, he was elected to the Legislative Yuan as an independent legislator for Pingtung County, thereby acquiring the judicial immunity enjoyed by legislators during legislative sessions.

He won re-election on Dec. 1, 2001, and shortly afterwards was named leader of a legislative delegation for a trip to Japan.

Wu left Taiwan on Dec. 29, 2001, the date of the delegations' departure, but he did not go to Japan. He was later spotted in China. On Nov. 19 last year, the high court declared Wu a wanted man after he failed to answer a summons in connection with his appeal.

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