Mon, Jan 07, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors contest mayor’s release

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Changhua prosecutors yesterday appealed a ruling by the Changhua District Court ordering the release a township mayor who was arrested for allegedly taking money from a contractor on Friday.

Fangyuan Township (芳苑) Mayor Lin Ching-bin (林清彬), a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), was allegedly caught by investigators accepting NT$450,000 (US$15,000) in a envelope from a middleman named Chen Wu-shiung (陳武雄) and Chen’s son, Chen Shang-yuan (陳尚圓) in his car.

Investigators said they recorded the exchange, and prosecutors said the money came from a county contractor surnamed Hsieh (謝).

The court yesterday morning agreed to prosecutors’ application to detain the two Chens, but released Lin on NT$600,000 bail.

Prosecutors said there was no reason to release Lin because he was involved in several other pending cases and appealed the ruling with the Taiwan High Court’s Prosecutors Office in Taichung.

Hsieh was released without bail.

Liu Ching-an (劉清安), the vice director of the Investigation Bureau’s Changhua branch, told a press conference that the bureau had been monitoring Lin for more than one year.

It suspected Lin of taking kickbacks in more than 10 public construction projects since July 2011. He was also suspected of taking at least 12 percent of each construction project fee, which would amount to more than NT$3.3 million.

Prosecutors said the mayor denied any involvement in corruption.

Meanwhile, the Agency Against Corruption yesterday said it would review graft allegations made against Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), also a KMT member, before deciding whether to launch an official investigation into the matter.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday reported that Cho’s younger brother, Cho Po-chung (卓伯仲), bought a government-built apartment in Taipei two years ago under the name of his cousin, Cho Che-yi (卓哲毅).

The apartment cost NT$15.7 million, but NT$3.5 million reportedly came from a Changhua contractor named Wu Chun-te (吳俊德).

The report said that Cho Po-chung was suspected of laundering money on behalf of his brother.

It added that Cho Po-chung had filed a lawsuit against Cho Che-yi for embezzling the property.

Agency spokesman Chang Hung-mou (張宏謀) said the bureau would look into the allegations.

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