Lin Hsien-pao (林仙保), the father of former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世), passed away at the age of 72 yesterday morning from what doctors’ preliminary diagnosis indicated was heart trouble.
Legal experts said that Lin Hsien-pao’s death close to the date of the Taipei District Court’s ruling on his son’s graft case — scheduled for April 30 — would not have an impact on the ruling, as Lin Hsien-pao had been ruled out as a suspect. Lin Yi-shih, his wife, Peng Ai-chia (彭愛佳), his mother, Shen Ruo-lan (沈若蘭), and Shen’s elder and younger brothers have been charged with embezzlement and graft.
Prosecutors earlier this month requested a life sentence for Lin Yi-shih, who has been charged with corruption.
Lin Yi-shih has been accused of demanding bribes from Ti Yung Co owner Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) and pocketing about NT$60 million (US$2.02 million) in bribes, concealing illicit gains and having undeclared assets.
While Lin Hsien-pao’s voice was reportedly heard in a recording of a conversation between Lin Yi-shih and Chen, apparently negotiating a 2010 bribe to secure a metal recycling contract from state-controlled China Steel Corp, the Special Investigation Division ruled Lin Hsien-pao out of the case on the grounds that Lin Hsien-pao was hard of hearing and there was no other evidence implicating him.
In accordance with local traditions, the Lin family yesterday requested that Lin Hsien-pao’s body be returned home from hospital, and in the afternoon there were a growing number of relatives, friends and local political heavyweights calling at the Lin residence to pay their last respects.
Preliminary diagnoses pointed to heart issues, as Lin Hsien-pao had a history of diabetes and was on medication, doctors said.
Lin Hsien-pao was one of the most influential political figures in the Greater Kaohsiung area.
His political career spanned more than four decades and he served as a county councilor, provincial councilor and had been named a national policy adviser.
The former Kaohsiung county’s political scene is roughly divided into three different factions — the “Reds” and the “Whites,” which have their power bases in the county’s Farm Irrigation Association and Farmers’ Association respectively and are perceived to sympathize more with the pan-blue camp, and the “Blacks,” who are seen as more sympathetic to the pan-green camp.
Lin Hsien-pao was seen as a key figure in the Red Faction, and along with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) of the White Faction, one of the leading local political heavyweights.