Fri, Sep 30, 2005 - Page 2 News List

PFP to help fugitive ex-speaker if he returns to Taiwan

CNA , TAIPEI

If convicted former legislative speaker Liu Sung-fan (劉松藩) decides to return to Taiwan and accept his fate, the opposition People First Party (PFP) will try to get him released from jail on bail for medical treatment, a PFP whip said yesterday.

Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交), convener of the PFP legislative caucus, made the remarks when asked to comment on news reports that Liu, who is in poor health and tired of hiding in the US, wants to come back to Taiwan.

Ex-KMT member

Liu, 74, served as speaker of the Legislative Yuan from 1992 to 1999 while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in power, but he joined the PFP in January 2000 and became one of its legislators-at-large after he was expelled from the KMT for supporting PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) during Soong's campaign for president.

Liu was sentenced to four years in jail and given a NT$30 million (US$903,000) fine in September last year by the Taiwan High Court's Taichung Branch for corruption.

The court found that, as chairman of the board at the Taichung Business Bank, Liu received NT$150 million in kickbacks from Tseng Cheng-jen (曾正仁), president of the Kuangsan Enterprise Group, in return for granting illegal loans worth NT$1.5 billion to the group.

Away when sentenced

At the time of the sentence, Liu was attending the Republican Party convention in New York. He has remained in the US ever since.

The warrant issued for his arrest will remain valid for 15 years.

Also commenting on the report about Liu's intention to return, William Lai (賴清德), a DPP legislative caucus whip, said Liu should not try to negotiate the terms under which he will do his time, acting as if he still has privilege.

Jail first

He said that Liu should come back to Taiwan to serve his sentence, and that if he is found to have a health problem while he is in jail, the legal system may grant him bail for medical treatment based on humanitarian considerations.

Answering questions in the legislature, Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林) also said that Liu must be jailed first before he can apply for bail, which would be based on his need for medical treatment.

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