Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday said the conviction on corruption charges of Hsiao Yu-cheng (蕭裕正), the former head of Greater Kaohsiung Government’s Environmental Protection Bureau, was the result of a “witch hunt,” and vowed to file for a retrial or an extraordinary appeal.
The lawmakers, including Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君), Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡), made the remarks in the company of Hsiao’s lawyer, Lee Sheng-chen (李勝琛), at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
The press conference came after the Supreme Court on Thursday last week dismissed an appeal against the two-year sentence Hsiao had been given for instructing members of a local cleaning squad to attend a campaign event for Lee Kun-tse — who was running for legislator at the time — held during office hours in December 2007, and to subsequently forge documents to obtain NT$4,105 in overtime pay.
“It is really bizarre [for the courts] to sentence a bureau head to two years in prison over NT$4,105. Besides, the overtime payment [system] has been in place for a long time and does not exist for the sake of election campaigns events,” Lee Sheng-chen said.
Lee Sheng-chen said the courts made the ruling based mainly on prosecutors’ allegations that the head of the cleaning squad had made a telephone call to Hsiao asking him to ratify their overtime payment applications if the squad members attended Lee Kun-tse’s campaign rally.
“That alleged telephone call was the key piece of evidence that made Hsiao an accomplice in the squad members’ overtime fraud, but there is no record of that call,” Lee Sheng-chen.
“However, the judges responded by saying it was inevitable that something was left out under Greater Kaohsiung Government’s ‘complex organizational structures,’” Lee added.
Casting doubt on the judiciary’s handling of Hsiao’s case, Wu, a former judge, said Hsiao received the instruction for execution of his prison term only one day after the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the appeal was announced, which state that he is due to report to prison on Friday.
“According to customary practices, those convicted receive such instructions about a month after their jail sentences are finalized, while it only took one day for Hsiao to receive his,” Wu said.