Mon, Dec 01, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Hsieh arrives to serve jail sentence

BEHIND BARS Former judge Hsieh Chi-ta was taken into custody upon her arrival in Taiwan to begin her jail time, but issued a statement claiming she is innocent

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former New Party legislator Hsieh Chi-ta, center, accompanied by New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming, left, is met by police at CKS International Airport as she arrives in Taipei yesterday to start serving her three-month jail term.

PHOTO: TONY YAO, TAIPEI TIMES

A former judge and New Party legislator returned to Taiwan yesterday to face a three-month jail term stemming from defamation charges, having decided against paying an NT$81,000 fine that would have allowed her to avoid imprisonment.

Hsieh Chi-ta (謝啟大) was handed the sentence on Dec. 12 last year following a defamation case between former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) wife, Tseng Wen-hui (曾文惠), and three New party members: Hsieh, Elmer Feng (馮滬祥) and Tai Chi (戴錡).

Hsieh, Feng and Tai had claimed that Tseng attempted to flee to New York after the 2000 presidential election with US$85 million in cash, but was turned back by customs officials.

Hsieh arrived at CKS International Airport on a flight from Beijing at 2:40pm yesterday and was immediately arrested as a wanted convict. The former New Party legislator had for 11 years been a judge at the Ilan District Court, Hsinchu District Court and the Taiwan High Court Hualien Branch.

After identification and a short interrogation at the airport, Hsieh was escorted to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office to begin her jail term. Because she arrived on a weekend, Hsieh was to be temporarily housed at the Taipei Detention House in Panchiao and transferred to the women's prison in Taoyuan today.

Hundreds of New Party members gathered at the airport around noon yesterday to show their support for Hsieh, despite her fugitive status. Hundreds of police officers were on hand to keep order, but no incidents were reported.

As Hsieh walked off the plane, two policewomen arrested her. Before they escorted her to the interrogation room she was allowed to read an announcement to the press.

Hsieh, accompanied by New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) and other party officials, said she would never give in to any unjust verdict.

"What she did was a bad example to the public," said Cheng Chen-lung (程振隆), a legislator from the Taiwan Solidarity Union. "She has been a judge for 11 years and she is supposed to respect justice more than anyone. But she didn't."

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