Thu, Feb 26, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Prosecutors will not appeal KRTC scandal verdict

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors yesterday said they would not appeal a verdict handed down by the Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung branch that dropped corruption charges against former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) in connection with the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal.

The High Court verdict was finalized on Jan. 15 but prosecutors did not receive it until earlier this month. Appeals can be made within 10 days of receiving the verdict.

“To make a successful appeal, we would need to prove that the evidence is not valid or the verdict itself violates laws or decrees,” said a spokesman for the Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung branch’s Prosecutors’ Office, Chiang Hui-min (江惠民). “We decided not to appeal because we do not see anything like that in this case.”

Chen was accused of helping Huapan Co, the firm in charge of hiring and managing Thai laborers working on Kaohsiung’s MRT project, by winning contracts for the project in exchange for all-expenses paid trips to Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea. The case came to light after Thai workers rioted on Aug. 21, 2005, over working conditions.

On Nov. 21, 2005, Chen was indicted on corruption charges along with 22 other defendants, including officials, a brokerage company staffer and four Thai workers who were riot ringleaders.

Kaohsiung District Court handed down the first verdict for the case in 2007 when judges decided to drop corruption charges against Chen because prosecutors could not prove that the hospitality Chen received was related to his position as Presidential Office deputy secretary-general.

At the time, Huapan general manager Yen Shih-hua (嚴世華) and his wife Wang Tsai-pi (王彩碧) were sentenced to 42 months and four years in jail respectively for taking kickbacks.

Along with those against Chen, charges against them were dropped in the high court verdict on Jan. 15.

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