The Taipei Detention Center yesterday said it would keep a closer watch on former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) after the suicide of former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun.
The detention center said Chen may know about Roh’s suicide from TV and radio news reports.
Roh jumped to his death on Saturday morning from a cliff in the mountains.
His reputation as a clean politician who fought corruption was damaged a month ago after he was implicated in a graft scandal and questioned by prosecutors.
Roh’s suicide attracted widespread attention in Taiwan, with some expressing concerns that Chen, being in a similar situation, might contemplate suicide.
Not only have the two both been implicated in corruption cases, Roh and Chen share other traits that have drawn attention to the similarity. Both came from poor farming families and were human rights lawyers before going into politics.
In both cases, the graft scandals involved the families of the former presidents.
The detention center yesterday said it would keep a close watch on Chen. He appeared to be emotionally stable and went about his usual activities yesterday, it said.
“[Chen] read newspapers and watched TV in his room,” deputy warden Lee Ta-chu (李大竹) said.
The center stripped Chen temporarily of visitation privileges and confiscated his TV set and radio more than a week ago to punish him for refusing to eat.
Chen held his third hunger strike since being detained, this time in a show of support for a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) protest against government policies.
After Chen drank mishui, the liquid drawn from rice porridge, the center returned his TV and radio.
Chen has been detained at the Taipei Detention Center since Dec. 30 on charges including money laundering, embezzlement and corruption.
He was indicted on Dec. 12 on corruption charges involving nearly NT$500 million (US$14.68 million). He has repeatedly denied the allegations and called the trials a form of political persecution.
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