Former legislator Hong Chi-chang demands retrial

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Apr 09, 2013 - Page 3

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Hong Chi-chang (洪奇昌) yesterday cited new evidence to demand a retrial of his conviction in a case involving property sales by Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar) at the Greater Taichung branch of the High Court, saying that he would do whatever it takes to prove his innocence.

“I do not believe there is no justice in Taiwan … as an intellectual, my integrity is more important than my life,” Hong told a press conference in the afternoon in Taipei after filing for a retrial at the Greater Taichung branch of the High Court in the morning.

The High Court’s Taichung branch on March 13 upheld the original conviction, handing Hong a two-year-and-four-month prison term and senior DPP politician Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) a prison term of three years and 10 months for breach of trust.

Both said that the verdict was unfair.

Wu, who was chairman of Taisugar in 2003, was accused of giving in to Hong’s lobbying for Chun Lung Co, a property development firm, to ensure that it won the right to purchase a plot of land it was renting from Taisugar in an industrial park in Wufeng District (霧峰) in the then-Taichung County.

Hong cited a list of Taisugar land sales, compiled by the state-controlled company and submitted to the Legislative Yuan on March 15 — two days after the verdict — as new evidence that proved the company no longer had a “only-for-rent” policy on its properties and therefore justified a retrial.

According to the list, Taisugar sold more than 200 properties annually since 2001, Hong said.

The DPP politician said he would employ all possible measures in the judicial system, including demanding an extraordinary trial and a Control Yuan investigation over misjudgement even after his imprisonment.

The court ruled that Wu and Hong had violated the policy, despite the two having argued that the origin of the policy — the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ regulation of state-owned enterprises’ public land leases and superficies — was abolished on March 28, 2001.

A group of Hong’s associates, including politicians, physicians, businesspeople and journalists, testified to Hong’s integrity and questioned the fairness of the verdict at the press conference.