Keelung Mayor called for questioning in fraud case

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Jan 04, 2006 - Page 2

The mayor of Keelung was summoned for questioning by prosecutors yesterday over his alleged involvement in real-estate fraud.

"Prosecutors summoned Keelung Mayor Hsu Tsai-li (許財利) to question him about his involvement in a Keelung government land procurement contract," said Lai Cheng-sheng (賴正聲), a spokesman for the Keelung Prosecutors' Office.

At the time of going to press, questioning was still underway.

Keelung prosecutors led agents from the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB) on a raid of city government offices and Hsu's residence yesterday morning, seizing a number of documents.

Hsu was then summoned for questioning by prosecutors and MJIB agents. His daughter and daughter-in-law were also questioned by investigators.

In total, nine people were interviewed, Lai said.

The investigation resulted from accusations of corruption Keelung businessman Lin Cheng-ming (林正明) leveled at Hsu late last year.

Lin said that in 2003, Hsu invited him to jointly invest in land in the city.

Lin alleged that Hsu and he together invested a total of NT$47 million (US$1,470,000) in land purchases and that Hsu sold the land to the city government's bus bureau for NT$85 million, hoping to profit illegally by NT$38 million.

Hsu proposed building a bus station on the land, Lin added.

Lin alleged, however, that after the Keelung council discovered the suspicious circumstances of the sale, Hsu canceled the contract.

Lin said that Hsu agreed to pay him NT$35 million in compensation, but had only given him NT$10 million, prompting him to bring the issue to the authorities' attention.

Although Hsu was accused of involvement in the scandal during last month's local government elections, he still won re-election.