Prosecutors indicted 21 people, including eight former customs officials and staffers, yesterday in one of the biggest corruption cases ever to involve the nation’s customs officials.
Among the eight public servants indicted were Huang Fu-chung (黃富崇) and Chou Chia-ping (周家屏), two former section chiefs responsible for cargo checks at the Lioudu branch of the Keelung Customs Office, according to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, which served the indictments.
Prosecutors have asked for prison terms of 25 years for Huang and Chou, the office said in a statement.
The statement said that the eight Lioudu customs workers were found to have taken bribes from customs brokers and traders for two years in exchange for their assistance in importing banned products and evading tariffs.
Each of the suspects allegedly took bribes ranging from several hundred thousand New Taiwan dollars to more than NT$2 million (US$66,000), the statement said.
This was the second wave of indictments for alleged bribe-taking by customs officials public servants and businessmen who paid bribes, after Taipei district prosecutors and investigators from the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau unveiled the case in July.
Prosecutors indicted 23 suspects in October, including then-Directorate-General of Customs deputy head Lu Tsai-yih (呂財益), the highest-ranking official implicated to date.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office launched the investigation last year after receiving a tip-off about suspected “price haggling” between a customs broker and a Keelung Customs Office official.
Investigators later found that multiple Keelung office and -Directorate-General of Customs officials were being bribed to allow goods into the country.
They also discovered that brokers frequently bribed customs officials to help importers of fish products, liquor and chocolate evade tariffs or pay lower tariffs by underreporting the value of their shipments.