Justice ministry officials yesterday were left with egg on their faces after admitting they did not know whether the special mayoral fund former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma, who had to resign as chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) after being indicted on corruption charges, admitted during his ongoing trial that he had taken the special allowance funds given to public officials, including during his eight-year tenure as Taipei mayor, because he regarded the money as private and part of his income as a government official.
KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (
"It depends," Shih said. "The ministry does not have a definite answer to that."
Lee then showed a justice ministry press statement issued last Thursday, which said that "the ministry regards the special funds as public funds."
Embarrassed, Vice Minister of Justice Chu Nan (
Faced with criticism for the justice ministry's ambiguous position, Chu said he would ask the ministry to discipline him for the flawed press statement and its consequences.
Shih added that state public prosecutor-general Chen Tsung-ming (
The justice ministry issued a statement last November saying public officials' special funds should be treated as a "substantial subsidy" -- essentially as income -- and prosecutors should take a lenient approach toward their investigations into the abuse of special allowance funds.
But Taipei prosecutors in February still indicted Ma on charges of embezzling NT$11 million (US$333,000) during his term as mayor.
Top prosecutor Chen Tsung-ming and his special investigation team have also been investigating alleged misuse of discretionary special allowance funds by several prominent Democratic Progressive Party public figures.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
MEDICINAL HERB: The FRIL protein extracted from hyacinth beans helped laboratory mice survive H1N1 infection and effectively neutralized the coronavirus A protein isolated from hyacinth beans, a medicinal herb known for centuries, has been found to restrict the activities of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses in laboratory experiments, a team of Academia Sinica researchers said yesterday. The beans’ curative effect is documented in the 16th-century Chinese medicine classic Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目) and they are also a food source in some countries, the Genomics Research Center’s Chemical Biology Division Director Alex Ma (馬徹) told a news conference in Taipei. Center senior research specialist Jan Jia-tsrong (詹家琮) experimented with up to 500 medicinal herbs to see if they could restrict influenza viruses and