Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Lo Sheng group files bribery suit


By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

An action group formed to campaign against the demolition of the Lo Sheng Sanatorium in Sinjhuang (新莊), Taipei County, yesterday filed a corruption lawsuit against Public Construction Commission Chairman Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成).

The Lo Sheng Republic of Human Rights and Cultural Rights alleges that Wu received a bribe of more than NT$100 million (US$3 million) to approve the demolition of certain sections of the facility to make way for a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) maintenance depot.


"He knew that there was something wrong with the construction project but he still allowed the contractor to go through with it," said Chuang Yu-lin (莊育麟), a spokesman for the organization.

Chang and other activists visited the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office yesterday morning to file suit against Wu, but offered no evidence to support their accusations.

Chuang said the construction project had damaged several buildings in the neighborhood but the contractor had not offered residents any compensation. He also complained that the police had dealt violently with Lo Sheng protesters on several occasions.

The organization said it planned to petition Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) and Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) for better treatment.


In response, Wu issued a press release saying that he was merely doing his job by trying to carry out the policy formulated by former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).

Wu said the former premier had asked that the sanatorium be preserved as much as possible, but that the MRT construction must continue. The idea was to find a balance between the needs of the sanatorium's patients and the greater Taipei community.

"This is what we are trying to do," Wu said.

Su, who is now the Democratic Progressive Party's vice-presidential candidate, apologized for policy mistakes on the issue in April and, while serving as premier, promised to help preserve 46 buildings at the sanatorium.

However, preservationists were disappointed as a final decision was announced at the end of May to preserve just 39 buildings, which did not include some that preservationists believe to have historical value.

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