Independent Chiayi County Council speaker Yu Cheng-tah (余政達) has been reported missing after the Supreme Court last week upheld his prison sentence in a bribery case, the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office said.
Yu was convicted regarding NT$1 million (US$33,200) in bribes he took from merchants during the Lantern Festival in 2007. Yu threatened to remove their stalls if they did not pay.
The Supreme Court on Thursday handed down a final ruling upholding a 10-year-and-four-month sentence given to Yu by the Taiwan High Court’s Tainan Branch on charges of extortion and receiving bribes. Yu was also deprived of his civil rights for five years and ordered to return the money. His council seat and speaker status have been revoked.
The prosecutors’ office said it received a request from the nation’s Tainan High Prosecutors’ Office to monitor Yu and prevent his escape.
The office said it issued a warrant ordering Yu to turn himself in on June 6 to start his sentence, but the convict was reported missing after investigators reached his residence that day.
The office added that Yu’s family and colleagues said they did not know his whereabouts.
Prosecutors have barred Yu from leaving the country, adding that if he fails to report to the office on June 6, he would be place d on the wanted list.
The office urged Yu to serve his term, saying he could be released on parole in five years if he behaves in prison, but if he flees, he will be on the wanted list for 50 years.