Authorities in Taichung detained seven police officers in a corruption probe on suspicion of receiving regular bribes from sex-trade businesses amid raids that saw 26 suspects detained and witnesses taken in for questioning in recent days.
As of yesterday, all seven officers were listed as suspects in the corruption probe by the Taichung District Prosecutors’ Office.
Four were released after questioning, while three higher-ranking officials had bail posted due to their being considered flight risks.
The three higher-ranking officers were police chief Chen Hung-mo (陳宏模), whose bail was set at NT$200,000; detective Chen Hsing-lung (陳興隆), NT$500,000 bail; and police sergeant Lai Hsin-chih (賴信志), NT$100,000 bail.
The raids, along with seizure of documents and evidence, were carried out on Monday and Tuesday in a joint operation between prosecutors, Ministry of Justice officials of the Agency Against Corruptio and National Police Agency officials with the Ethics Department.
Over the two-day operation, the law enforcement agencies raided 22 locations across Taichung, including premises where sex services were allegedly provided, taking in 26 people for questioning by prosecutors.
Taichung City Police Department spokesman Chen Jen-hui (陳仁輝) said the suspects allegedly received bribes from operators of sex-trade businesses in exchange for inside information and protection from police crackdowns.
A reporter surnamed Teng (鄧), who works for a Kaohsiung-based newspaper, acted as an intermediary between sex-trade proprietors and police, investigators said.
Teng allegedly collected bribe money at regular intervals to disburse among the police officers, investigators said.
Investigators said they have sufficient evidence of involvement by the seven police officers, as well as Teng, who used his media access to police agencies and precincts to link up the parties.
Teng allegedly handed over between NT$30,000 and NT$100,000 per month in bribes to the higher-ranking police officers in 2013 and 2014, investigators said.
They said evidence indicated that Teng was a major shareholder in a KTV lounge that had young women dressed in uniforms allegedly offer sexual services to male customers.
The police officers implicated in the case were suspected of tipping off the proprietors on impending inspections and conducting phony raids on the premises after which they would report that they had not found any evidence of illegal activities.
The probe was a continuation of a Taichung police corruption probe from last month in which a police officer surnamed Tsai (蔡) was accused of taking bribes to protect two “health spa” operations in the city that allegedly had female masseuses offering sexual services to customers.
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