Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Police officers sentenced for graft

‘IMPROPER BENEFIT’:Trucking company owners bribed officials with payments and other lavish gifts, including foreign-branded whiskey, according to an investigation

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Fourteen national highway police officers in southern Taiwan were on Wednesday found guilty and given prison terms in a corruption case, where they received bribes and other inducements from trucking companies in exchange for “going easy” on spot checks and traffic violations.

The Kaohsiung District Court sentenced police Lieutenant Wang Kuo-hsiao (王國孝) to 12 years in jail for graft, and handed out jail terms to 13 others — mostly from the Kaohsiung-based National Highway Police Bureau’s Fifth Police Brigade — of up to seven years, five months.

The ruling said Wang directed the officers under his charge in the brigade to provide trucking companies with information, through the social messaging application Line, related to police inspection routines and spot-check locations.

Among the trucking companies alleged to have given bribes to the highway police from June 2012 to April 2013, was one owned by Chen Ming-hai (陳明海).

A Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office investigation said that Chen received calls from his company’s truck drivers when they were charged with violations, carrying load exceeding permitted weight, or driving on suspended licenses.

Chen would then contact Wang and other police officers involved in the arrangement to have them communicate with the highway police officers on the scene where violations occurred, according to the investigation.

Evidence showed that Wang and others instructed police officers to let trucks continue driving without being issued tickets, or to submit false reports regarding loads.

In one instance, Wang sent a message to Chen and other trucking companies via Line saying: “I am now heading to the highway rest stop. Your trucks should quickly go through this section,” to instruct drivers to transit through police checkpoints and officers to allow the trucks to proceed, according to the investigation.

The court ruling said messages sent on Line by Wang and other colluding officers enabled trucking companies to reduce the number of citations they received, tainting the judicial authority of highway transport and law-enforcement agencies, and impairing road safety and the rights of other motorists.

The investigation found that Chen and other trucking company owners bribed Wang and other highway police officers with payments, lavish banquets, evening drinking and entertainment at hostess bars, gifts of expensive imported whiskey, foreign-branded cigarettes and tea, and other inducements.

Chen and other trucking company proprietors involved in the case were found guilty of “paying bribes to seek improper benefit” and other offenses, and received jail terms ranging from four months to 10 months.

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