Convicted lawmaker vows to appeal

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 - Page 3

Following the confirmation of his jail sentence on Wednesday over his abuse of taxpayers’ money, Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) yesterday vowed to appeal as he proclaimed his innocence and announced that his son would run in the legislative by-election being held to fill his post.

Yen, chairman of Chenlan Temple in Greater Taichung, denies abusing his authority as former Taichung County Council speaker and spending millions of dollars at hostess bars and KTV lounges. He pledged to prove his innocence in the courts and said that his son, Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆), would participate in the legislative by-election in Greater Taichung.

“I did not abuse my position and I deeply regret the ruling of the Supreme Court. I will prove my innocence through legal procedures,” he told a press conference at the temple.

Yen Kuan-hen, who accompanied his father at the press conference, promised to devote his efforts to serve local residents.

The Supreme Court found that Yen Ching-piao and Greater Tai-chung Council Speaker Chang Ching-tang (張清堂), an independent, guilty of misusing council funds between 1998 and 2000. It said they spent more than NT$20 million (US$686,600) of council money on their expenses at hostess bars and KTV lounges in then-Taichung City.

The court sentenced Yen Ching-piao to a three-and-half-year prison sentence and his status as a lawmaker will be stripped when the Ministry of the Interior receives written confirmation of the sentence from the court.

Although Yen and Chang are independent politicians, they are deemed close to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and their imprisonment could have an impact on the political makeup of Greater Taichung. Two by-elections are to be held to fill Yen’s legislative seat and Chang’s seat on the council.

KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said yesterday the party would discuss the matter with its local branch before presenting its candidates to run in the by-elections, declining to comment further.

Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) visited Chang at his home yesterday morning, and said both Chang and Yen Ching-piao had made great contributions to local development in Greater Taichung over the years.

“They have enjoyed great grassroots support in Taichung and made contributions to local development. I believe they will face the verdicts candidly and honesty,” Hu said, declining to comment on the impact of the sentences on local politics.