Wed, May 14, 2014 - Page 3 News List

High Court sentences Keelung mayor to prison term for influence peddling

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong waves as he leaves a municipal affairs meeting yesterday.

Photo: Lu Hsien-hsiu, Taipei Times

Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮) was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison by the Taiwan High Court yesterday on charges of influence peddling.

Chang, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member, had received the same sentence from the Keelung District Court, although the sentence was suspended for five years.

The High Court’s ruling withdrew Chang’s probation.

The ruling said Chang is able to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

The Ministry of the Interior said that according to the law, if Chang is convicted by the Supreme Court and has to serve a jail term, he would be removed as mayor.

Chang was found guilty of using his position to persuade city police officers to ignore an alleged drunk-driving case, dating back to September 2012.

On the pretext of serving his constituents, Chang pressured officers at the Anle Precinct into releasing a woman surnamed Liao (廖), who had allegedly assaulted and injured a policewoman.

The ruling said Chang appeared at the police station and demanded that the woman be released, pounding a table and threatening to transfer those who dared disobey him.

He was recorded as shouting at police officers: “You are great. You are so great. I will have [National Police Agency] Director-General Wang [Cho-chiun (王卓鈞)] come here to give you rewards, and then ask Director-General Wang to transfer you outside Keelung,” the ruling said.

Liao was released.

The ruling said Chang did not show any remorse in the case, although his case had made headlines in the media and Chang has received much criticism.

When the court asked Chang whether he confessed to the charges against him, Chang replied: “I do not,” the ruling said.

It added that Chang insisted his action was to prevent a confrontation between a constituent and police officers, and he “never forced them to free the woman.”

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