Sun, Aug 26, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Frank Hsieh slams prosecutors over Chen Che-nan case

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday panned prosecutors' "hasty" indictment of Chen Che-nan's (陳哲男), a former deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office, after Chen's acquittal by the Kaohsiung District Court on Friday.

Kaohsiung prosecutors had accused Chen of accepting all-expense paid trips to Thailand and South Korea and "entertainment" paid for by a firm in return for his help in winning contracts for Kaohsiung City's mass rapid transit system project.

They sought an eight-year sentence for Chen on charges of corruption. The case came to light after Thai workers rioted on Aug. 21, 2005, in protest over working conditions.

The court on Friday found Chen not guilty of misusing his power and accepting favors in exchange for subway construction contracts in Kao-hsiung, saying the prosecution failed to prove the hospitality Chen received was related to his position.

Asked by reporters for comments yesterday, Hsieh said the court usually acquits an accused because of a lack of evidence or if prosecutors had made a hasty decision in indicting a person.

"Media reports said even a spokesman of the prosecutors said they did not have sufficient evidence when they indicted Chen," Hsieh said. "If that was the case, how could they indict him?"

The Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Kaohsiung City Council caucus, however, urged prosecutors to appeal.

KMT council caucus whip Huang Po-lin (黃柏霖) also urged State Public Prosecutor Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明) to assign all cases related to the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp scandal to the Special Investigation Task Force to facilitate the probe.

In Yunlin County, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) expressed his surprise at the ruling, but added that he respected the judicial system.

"The case seriously damaged Taiwan's international reputation. I am surprised at the ruling, but I expect the judge [in an appeal] to review the case thoroughly," he said.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

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