Independent Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) was yesterday sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by the Taiwan High Court for spending millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money at hostess bars and KTV lounges.
Yen, who was sentenced for misusing public funds during his term as Taichung County Council speaker, also had his civil rights suspended for three years.
Independent Greater Taichung Council Speaker Chang Ching-tang (張清堂), who was Yen’s vice speaker in the previous Taichung County Council, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, and three years’ suspension of his civil rights. Tsai Wen-hsiung (蔡文雄), Yen’s former secretary, received six-and-a-half years.
Yen and Chang said they would appeal to the Supreme Court.
In the ruling, the court said that Yen and Chang had returned NT$20.55 million (US$687,000) in misused public funds to state coffers. As a result, the court handed out reduced sentences.
Yen and Chang had been sentenced to 12 years in prison in a first trial.
The court found Yen, Chang and Tsai guilty of spending council funds between 1998 and 2000 to cover their expenditures at hostess bars and KTV lounges in -Taichung. According to the ruling, the trio used more than NT$20 million of council money and were still in debt to various hostess bars for about NT$10 million.
Yen, chairman of the Chenlan Temple, spent three-and-a-half years in Green Island’s maximum-security prison after a crackdown on organized crime in 1986. His participation in local politics began soon after he was released.