Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) was handed a prison sentence of four years and six months yesterday at his third High Court retrial for using public funds to frequent hostess bars when he served as Taichung County Council speaker from October 1998 to December 2000.
Yen also had his civil rights suspended for three years.
He expressed a feeling of “helplessness” and said that he would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The Taiwan High Court said Yen and Taichung County Council Speaker Chang Ching-tang (張清堂), who at the time of the offenses was deputy speaker, were found guilty of taking advantage of their positions to illegally spend up to NT$20.6 million (US$644,000) in public funds frequenting hostess bars.
Chang was given the same sentence as Yen.
Chang, who pleaded his innocence, said he would also appeal, arguing that he and Yen used the money in accordance with past government practice.
Yen’s legislative services office also said the public funds were used in accordance with proper legal procedure.
“Not a single penny ended up in Yen’s pocket or was spent on his personal use,” one of his aides said.
Yen was also previously sentenced to three-and-half years for illegal possession of firearms. He was released on parole in May last year after serving one-third of the sentence.