Taiwan’s former representative to Fiji Victor Chin (秦日新) began 48 hours of community service yesterday, in compliance with a sentence handed down last year for irregularities during his service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chin reported to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office at 10am and was assigned a probation officer.
The ex-diplomat was accused of forgery with the intention of misappropriating public funds in 2005 during his tenure as director of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, but was eventually convicted of instructing a subordinate to falsify official documents.
According to the court document, Chin gave instructions to a subordinate at the department to buy him 36 bottles of wine that would be distributed as gifts when he took up a new post in New Zealand. At Chin’s instruction, the subordinate — Gordon Yang (楊慶輝) — created a fake list of ministry officials attending farewell parties, which was used to justify the expenditure of NT$210,000, the court document said.
Chin was found not guilty of the charges in two trials, but the rulings were overturned in August 2011 by the High Court, which sentenced him to one year in prison.
The prison sentence was later reduced to six months.
In October last year, the High Court maintained the sentence in a retrial, which includes a three-year suspension of the prison term, a fine of NT$100,000 and 48 hours of community service. Chin was required to report to prosecutors by yesterday to begin his community service and to pay the fine within two years of the final ruling.
Chin was suspended from his job at the ministry in 2011, when the investigation of corruption allegations against him began.
Yang was allowed to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement.