The Taiwan High Court yesterday agreed with a lower court in finding two former officials not guilty of defrauding the government of US$500,000 of secret diplomatic funds used to promote diplomatic relations.
The court maintained that former National Security Council secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and former deputy minister of foreign affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) did not pocket the funds.
On hearing the verdict, Chiou’s lawyer, Kao Yung-cheng (高涌誠), said his client had been vindicated by acquittals in two trials.
The process also showed that “there could be malfeasance on the part of Special Investigation Division [SID] of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office,” the lawyer said.
Kao said Chiou was detained for 50 days while the case was investigated and if he was ultimately found not guilty, he would seek national compensation for wrongful detention.
The prosecutors can still appeal the High Court’s verdict if they feel it did not properly apply the law.
In their indictment, SID prosecutors alleged that irregularities occurred in relation to a diplomatic initiative launched in 2004 by the then-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, dubbed “An Ya.”
The initiative, taken after Taiwan joined the WTO, hoped to enlist the support of then-WTO secretary-general Supachai Panitchpakdi in blocking China from forcing Taiwan to adopt any designation at the WTO that would imply a downgrading of its sovereign status, they said.
The prosecutors said Chiou instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to allocate US$500,000 to the project, but that he then kept the money for himself.
Kau was indicted on similar charges for directing the ministry to issue traveler’s checks for the same amount.
In the two former officials’ first trial, Taipei District Court judges found that the initiative was a collaboration between the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was not decided by Chiou alone.
According to the testimony of witnesses, the traveler’s checks were cashed and signed by the representatives of the intended beneficiary and not Chiou, a statement with which the district court agreed.
The High Court upheld the district court’s findings, but it did not offer any public explanation yesterday to back its ruling.
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
MISSILE PATHS: Certain information on the Chinese missile fire was not disclosed to maintain secrecy over military intelligence-gathering capabilities, the MND said Military experts yesterday speculated on the implication of the government’s tight-lipped response and the lack of air-raid sirens during the first day of China’s military drills the previous day. On Thursday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched 11 Dongfeng-series ballistic missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan, a day after US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from the country, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that China fired nine missiles toward Taiwan, including four that flew over Taiwan proper. However, China’s exhibition of force failed to terrorize the local populace, because
If any war were to break out between the US and China, one trigger might be the increasingly frequent fighter jet encounters near Taiwan. Almost every day, Taiwanese fighter pilots hop in their US-made F-16s to intercept Chinese warplanes screaming past their territory. The encounters probe the nation’s defenses and force the pilots on both sides to avoid mistakes that could lead to a crisis that spins out of control. “I didn’t know whether they would fire at me,” said retired colonel Mountain Wang, recounting a tense five-minute confrontation he had with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) jets more than a decade
INCREASINGLY EMBOLDENED: China can no longer be dismissed as inexperienced, demonstrating an ability to coordinate land and sea missile systems, an expert said Beijing’s largest-ever exercises around Taiwan have offered essential clues into its plans for a grueling blockade in the event of an attack on Taiwan, and revealed an increasingly emboldened Chinese military, experts said. The visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi — second in line to the presidency — sparked outrage from Beijing, which launched vast military maneuvers around the nation, even at the risk of partially exposing its plans to the US and its Asian allies. Mobilizing fighter planes, helicopters and warships, the drills aim to simulate a blockade of Taiwan and include practicing an “attack on