Thu, Sep 08, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Lawyer charged over the switch of a vagrant for a fraudster serving time

BY RICH CHANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former prosecutor Ko Chin-chu is released on bail yesterday.

PHOTO: CHEN TSE-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Lawyer and former Taipei prosecutor Ko Chin-chu (柯金柱) was released on bail yesterday after being detained on suspicion of involvement in a case in which a man served time in jail on behalf of a criminal.

"Former prosecutor Ko is the attorney of Chen San-lung (陳三龍), who paid a vagrant surnamed Chung to serve a prison term for him. As Chen's attorney, the prosecutors suspect that Ko was involved in the switch," Taipei Prosecutor's Office spokesman Lin Pang-liang (林邦樑) said.

"Ko has been charged with concealment of an offender and destruction of evidence. Prosecutors ordered that he be released on NT$300,000 bail," Lin said.

Chen San-lung, a owner of a well-known record company, was sentenced to 18 months' jail by the Taiwan High Court in September 2003 for fraud offenses.

Prosecutors said Chen then escaped and was placed on a most-wanted list.

They alleged that last November, Chen paid Chung to report to Taoyuan Prosecutors' Office and impersonate him. Chung was duly jailed and served nine months in prison.

Prosecutors said that because Chen had been accused of pirating recordings by the late pop superstar Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), the Taipei District Court summoned Chen from jail for a trial, but after several attempts at questioning, the court discovered that Chung knew nothing about the lawsuit or Chen's company's affairs.

The court then asked the Taipei Prosecutors' Office to investigate the matter.

Prosecutors said that Ko had represented the fake Chen during the trial, and therefore knew about the switch.

Prosecutors on Tuesday raided Ko's office, residence and his girlfriend's residence, where they seized documents.

Ko yesterday told reporters he knew nothing about the switch and that he was innocent.

Ko quit his job as a prosecutor and became a lawyer last year.

Ministry of Justice officials yesterday said Taoyuan prosecutors and officials at the Taoyuan Prison should take responsibility for the scandal because they should have carefully checked Chung's identity before detaining him.

Chen was also arrested and detained on Tuesday.

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