Fri, Oct 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ex-speaker arrest warrant issued

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

An arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday for former Tainan county council speaker Wu Chien-pao (吳健保) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), who disappeared before he could start to serve his conviction linked to baseball game-fixing scandals that started in the 2006 season.

Wu was supposed to report to the Tainan District Prosecutors Office at 10am on Tuesday to start serving a three-year-and-two-month sentence, but he did not appear.

Judiciary officials said Wu would be put on the wanted list.

His family told police that Wu has not been seen for more than a month and they had not been able to contact him by telephone for the past two weeks.

There are rumors that he has fled to the Philippines.

After being convicted of blackmail, breach of trust and other charges for being one of the masterminds behind game-fixing scandals that tarnished the reputation of the Chinese Professional Baseball League and several players, he — along with 35 baseball players and several gang members — was sentenced on Aug. 13.

Wu and the other principals were found guilty of enticing baseball players to throw games with offers of money, sex with female escorts or threat of violence.

Wu served two terms as Tainan County council speaker from 2002 to 2010, before the county merged with Tainan city to become Greater Tainan.

Wu retains a great deal of political clout in Greater Taiwan, and was working to help his son, Wu Yu-huan (吳禹寰), win a seat on a councilor seat for the upcoming election in November.

Wu reportedly did not want to go to prison because the publicity it would create might hurt his son’s campaign.

The baseball scandal is not the first time Wu has been sentenced to prison.

In May 2011, he was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to three-year-and-a-half years in the first ruling by the Greater Tainan branch of the Taiwan High Court for his role in illegal sand-and-gravel quarrying on the Tseng-wen River (曾文溪).

Wu and 25 others had been indicted in August 2004 on charges of bribing officials, breaking government procurement laws and colluding to steal public assets in connection with a river-dredging contract won by Wu and former Tainan city councilor Lee Chuan-fu (李全富).

Wu was removed as council speaker following the verdict, and unusually, prosecutors sought to have him report to prison just a week later and dispatched police officers to monitor his movements.

However, Wu appealed the ruling — but vowed he had no intention of leaving the country to avoid going to prison.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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