Sun, Jul 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan High Court judge detained for questioning on suspicion of bribery

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Taiwan High Court judge yesterday was detained for allegedly taking bribes and then ruling in favor of a number of incumbent and former Tainan County councilors.

"The Taiwan High Court's Tainan Branch judge Hsu Hung-chi (徐宏志) is suspected of accepting more than NT$10 million (US$309,000) from former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chou Wu-liu (周五六) and then acquitting Chou and a number of defendants," Hsu Mei-nu (許美女), the spokeswoman for the Tainan District Prosecutors' Office, said yesterday.

Not guilty?

She said Hsu Hung-chi declared 36 defendants, including Chou, not guilty in August 2001.

Prosecutors are investigating whether or not Hsu took bribes from other defendants in the case, the spokeswoman added.

In March 1994 KMT Tainan County councilor Lien Ching-tai (連清泰) and Chou ran for council speaker and vice speaker, respectively, and allegedly colluded to bribe councilors.

Lien and Chou reportedly took 34 councilors to Thailand before the speakership election, where the bribery took place.

Lien and Chou then each received 47 votes and won the speaker and vice speaker posts.

Lien, Chou and 34 councilors were indicted for bribery by Tainan prosecutors in 1994. The Tainan District Court and the Taiwan High Court's Tainan Branch both declared all 36 defendants guilty.

However, after the Supreme Court ruled for a rehearing of the case by the Taiwan High Court's Tainan Branch, Hsu, who presided over the case, ruled in favor of all the defendants in August 2001.

In 2002 the Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling that the defendants were innocent.

However, a few months ago, Tainan prosecutors received complaints saying that Hsu may have accepted a bribe from Chou before he ruled on the case. The prosecutors then decided to launch an investigation into the matter.

Suspicious deposit

Prosecutors found that Chou's wife, Chen Hsiu-hsia (陳秀霞), deposited more than NT$10 million into Hsu's bank account in August 2001.

Prosecutors summoned Chen for questioning on Thursday. Because she was unable to explain why she deposited the money into Hsu's account, the Tainan District Court on Thursday night approved the prosecutors' request to detain Chen.

Hsu was summoned for questioning on Friday.

He was also detained early yesterday morning for failing to explain the source of the money in his bank account.

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