Kaohsiung judges yesterday added another 42 months to fugitive and former Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Chu An-hsiung's (
Kaohsiung judges Lin Shui-cheng (林水城), Chen Ming-chu (陳銘珠) and Fang Bai-cheng (方百正) yesterday announced a verdict for nine defendants, including Chu, his wife Wu Te-mei (吳德美), his sister-in-law Wu Pin-fang (吳品芳), former Kaohsiung City Government Civil Affairs Bureau Director Wang Wen-cheng (王文正), his campaign office director Hsien Chi-yu (賢繼宇), Kaohsiung's Happy Radio FM97.5 General-Manager Huang Hsin-chung (黃信中), and councilors Tsai Ching-yuan (蔡慶源), Tong Yen-chen (童燕珍) and Tsao Ming-hui (曹明輝). Chu was convicted of buying votes during last year's Kaohsiung City Council speakership election by paying each councilor NT$5 million to vote for him.
In addition to Chu being sentenced to 42 months in jail, Tsai was sentenced to 11 months in jail; Wu Te-mei, Wu Pin-fang and Wang were sentenced to six months in jail; and Hsien, Huang, Tong and Tsao were found not guilty.
Chu's sentence will be added to the 22-month sentence handed down in a separate bribery case involving the city council election. He was supposed to begin his jail term on Oct. 16 but managed to escape.
However, Chu has the right to appeal yesterday's sentence within 10 days after he receives the verdict.
None of the defendants attended yesterday's court proceedings. However, Chu's daughter, Chu Ting-shan (
Kaohsiung prosecutors indicted 40 people in the matter, including 34 councilors, one lawmaker and five of Chu's friends or colleagues who helped him distribute bribe money. Since the Kaohsiung District Court began the legal process in April, Lin, Chen and Fang have convicted 27 of the defendants.
In the meantime, six defendants were found not guilty while seven defendants' verdicts are pending.
"We will wrap up the rest of the defendants' verdicts before the end of the year," Lin said.
In the meantime, Chu's whereabouts remain unknown although rumor have it that he could be in China. Prosecutors and the police deny the allegation.
"We are still trying to track him down," said Chou Chang-chin (周章欽), Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office spokesman.
"Our investigations show there is no possibility of him [Chu] being in China," he said.
National Police Administration Director-General Chang Si-liang (
"I can tell you that the situation is under control but I cannot tell you whether Chu is in Taiwan or in a foreign country," he said.