The Taiwan High Court yesterday handed former Miaoli County commissioner and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Ho Chih-hui (何智輝), who has fled the country, a 14-year prison sentence for corruption and breach of trust.
In the second retrial of the case, the court found that Ho and -Hsiung Ming-wu (熊明武), who owned a farm and forest product company, jointly skimmed more than NT$200 million (US$6.9 million) from a land development deal in Tunglo (銅鑼), Miaoli County, during Ho’s term as county commissioner in 1993 and later as a KMT lawmaker in 1999.
Dividing the illicit profits between them, Ho pocketed NT$130 million and Hsiung took NT$80 million, according to the court. It said the two had committed a “heinous crime” by coercing Hsinchu Science Park administration officials into handing properties over to them.
After their illicit behavior was discovered, Ho admitted he had “overstepped” his administrative authority and Hsiung tried to deny responsibility, the court said.
The court sentenced Ho to 14 years in prison and suspended his civil rights for eight years. Hsiung received an 11-year prison term and a five-year suspension of his civil rights.
The court said it would also act to recover their ill-gotten gains of NT$223.54 million.
In the first trial, Ho was sentenced to 19 years in prison and the sentence was cut to 15 years on appeal.
The case took a dramatic turn when all three judges in a retrial of the case acquitted Ho, but were later found guilty of taking bribes of between NT$1.5 million and NT$3 million from him.
The three judges were in June sentenced to between 11.5 and 20 years in prison. Ho fled the country when the news broke that he had bribed the judges. He is currently on a wanted list, with an arrest warrant that extends until May 15, 2035. Both Ho and Hsiung can appeal their sentences.
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