Sun, Jul 24, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Prosecutor detained for bringing false weapons charges

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutor Chen Cheng-ta (陳正達) was detained yesterday by the Kaohsiung District Court for wrongfully indicting two men for arms smuggling. Two agents of the Ministry of Justice's Criminal Investigation Bureau, Tsai Jui-shi (蔡俊士) and Chao Pei-liang (趙培良), were detained earlier for their involvement in the fabricated charges.

The three were in cahoots in the framing of two men, both surnamed Shi, for arms smuggling, with the purpose of securing a lucrative reward from the Ministry of Justice for confiscating illegal weapons, according to Kaoshiung District Court spokesman Lin Shui-cheng (林水城). Prosecutors say that Tsai and Chao are also being held for their own involvement in weapons-smuggling in concert with Kaohsiung-based gangsters.

The Ministry of Justice immediately announced the Chen was suspended from his position.

The Kaohsiung District Court previously ruled that Tsai and Chao had falsely accused the two men surnamed Shi of smuggling a large number of weapons into Taiwan from the Philippines. During the court's investigation, Tsai and Chao's statements implicated Chen in the crime as well. But Chen has maintained that he did not knowingly charge the two men wrongly, and has said he had nothing to do with the scandal.

Chen, who has worked for the prosecutor's office for more than 10 years, was taken into custody by his own colleagues.

Chao's brother, Chao Pei-shen (趙培盛), is a known Kaohsiung-based gangster involved in smuggling rings. He was previously indicted for smuggling arms into Taiwan, but fled the country after getting wind of the indictment, according to prosecutors.

The current scandal dates back to 2003, when Chen, Chao Pei-liang and Tsai claimed they had "tracked down" cargo at Kaohsiung harbor containing 50 guns and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and arrested the first man surnamed Shi.

Later that year, the trio "discovered" another 49 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition at a nearby fishing harbor, and arrested another man surnamed Shi.

Chen indicted the two Shis for smuggling, and the three then applied for a hefty reward offered by the Ministry of Justice for confiscating illegal arms.

The ministry never paid out the reward, however, as an investigation into the charges was launched.

Prosecutors suspect that gangsters may have provided Chen, Tsai and Chao Pei-liang with guns and ammunition to help them bolster the bogus charges against the Shis.

Both men surnamed Shi provided evidence to the court to prove they were innocent, but their cases are still pending.

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