Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh wants evidence protected

BRIBERY PROBE Frank Hsieh's camp said he is concerned that files seized in the probe might get lost, destroyed or fall into the wrong hands and be used against him


Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has filed a request to secure protection of documents seized by investigators in connection with bribery allegations against him, campaign spokesman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said yesterday.

Chao was referring to the Yu Huang Temple (玉皇宮) bribery allegations, which first came to light in 2002 when Hsieh was Kaohsiung mayor.

Hsieh was accused of accepting NT$2.8 million (US$84,850) from Hsu Wen-liang (許文良), chief of the temple, in return for his approval of the construction of part of the temple. Hsieh has maintained that the NT$2.8 million was a political donation.

Hsieh told the media last week that his support group had received the donation from the temple in Kaohsiung's Samin District, in 2003 but later returned the money to the temple because it feared the donation might be "controversial."

The temple later insisted on giving the money back to his support group, Hsieh said, so he decided to spend the money on buying two ambulances -- Yu Huang 1 and Yu Huang 2, which are still in use in Kaohsiung.

Chao yesterday said Hsieh was worried that the documents -- which members of the Special Investigation Task Force took from Kaohsiung City government agencies last Tuesday -- could be lost or destroyed as the investigation continues and in the event of personnel changes in the task force.

To protect evidence that could be helpful to him, Hsieh wanted the Supreme Prosecutors' Office to guarantee the safety of the files, Chao said.

A lawyer filed the request on behalf of Hsieh yesterday. The task force is required by law to provide an answer to Hsieh's appeal within five days.

Chao yesterday also expressed "regret" that the task force had chosen this time to reopen the investigation and said that he hoped evidence helpful to Hsieh would not be destroyed or concealed for political reasons or be used by "certain people" to attack him.

Chao added that former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰), KMT Secretary-General Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英) had also accepted political donations from Yu Huang Temple. They were also the subject of investigations, but prosecutors later decided not to pursue charges.

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