Thu, Jan 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Keelung mayor released on bail in real-estate case

By Ko Shu-ling and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The mayor of Keelung, who is being investigated for his alleged involvement in real-estate fraud, was released on NT$2.5 million bail yesterday.

The investigation stems from from accusations leveled against Hsu by Keelung businessman Lin Cheng-ming (林正明) last year.

Lin said that Hsu invited him in 2003 to jointly invest in property in the city.

Lin claims that he and Hsu invested a total of NT$47 million in land purchases and that Hsu sold the land to the city government's bus bureau for NT$85 million, hoping to make a NT$38 million profit.

Hsu proposed building the bus deport on the property in question, but when the Keelung city council discovered the suspicious circumstances of the sale, Hsu canceled the contract, Lin claimed.

It is illegal for government officials to sell their own real-estate holdings to the government, said Lai Cheng-sheng (賴正聲), a spokesman for the Keelung Prosecutors' Office.

Lin said that Hsu had agreed to pay him NT$35 million in compensation, but had only given him NT$10 million, prompting him to bring the issue to the authorities' attention.

Although Hsu was accused of involvement in the scandal during the run-up to the local government elections last month, he was still re-elected.

According to the Law on Local Government Systems (地方制度法), mayors or commissioners found guilty of corruption by the Taiwan High Court are to be suspended from office.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus yesterday requested that Ma apologize for nominating Hsu in the Dec. 3 elections.

"Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) owes the citizens of Keelung and the public an apology for endorsing Hsu in the elections," TSU caucus whip David Huang (黃適卓) said.

Huang said that he is very curious about why Ma nominated someone who is connected to "black gold" politics.

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