Sun, Jul 17, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Chiayi County Councilor Hou sent to prison

DOING TIME The ex-councilor was promptly put in prison after he was deemed a flight risk. He was found guilty of blackmail and organizing an attack on `Next' magazine

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) deputy speaker of the Chiayi County Council Hou Chin-liang (侯金良) was sent to prison for more than two years yesterday, after he was found guilty of organizing an attack on the offices of a magazine and also for blackmail.

"Hou hired three men to vandalize the offices of Next magazine, and he also blackmailed a Chiayi elementary school president," said Hsiao Yu-cheng (蕭宇誠), a spokesman for Chiayi Prosecutors' Office yesterday. "Hou was sentenced two years and two months in jail for the crimes, and he was sent to prison [yesterday]."

Hou had requested a delay in the start of his prison sentence after claiming he was ill and confined to a hospital bed, so prosecutors sent police officers to guard him while he was in a Chiayi hospital, Hsiao said.

Hsiao also said Hou might have attempted to use illness to buy him time so he could flee the country, so police took him from the hospital to a local prison to prevent such a possibility.

Hou's family yesterday told reporters that he was genuinely sick. His liver has been in bad condition, Hou's family said.

Prosecutors said that in August 2001, Hou sent three men to vandalize a Next magazine office after the publication reported that Hou operated a Chiayi pub that offered prostitution.

Next reported the pub hired teenage girls to do striptease for patrons, and Hou used his position in local government to facilitate the pub's operations.

Three men burst into the magazine's administrative office wielding baseball bats. They destroyed computers and glass doors, leaving after five minutes. No one was injured in the attack.

The magazine's management thought that Hou and local Chiayi gangsters might have been behind the violence immediately after the incident occurred.

On Sept. 3, the Taipei police arrested three suspects -- Chang Chih-cheng (張志成), Ho Chih-wen (何志文) and a teenager surnamed Ho. The three admitted involvement in the attack, and said that Hou had paid them NT$1,000 each to trash the magazine's office.

In addition to attacking the Next magazine's office, Hou also blackmailed the president of a Chiayi elementary school, prosecutors said.

Hou had a picture of the president having sex with a woman that was not his wife and threatened to make the picture public unless the man paid NT$2 million (US$64,500).

Previously, Hou was sentenced by the Taiwan High Court to five years in prison for hiring teenagers to strip in the club he helped manage, but the sentence was delayed pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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