The High Court yesterday sentenced Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) to two years in prison for paying bribes to secure contracts in three housing construction projects, with the sentence suspended for five years.
The suspended sentence means Chao does not have to serve jail time, but he was ordered to pay a fine of NT$200 million (US$6.1 million) and had his civil rights stripped for two years.
The verdict was final and cannot be appealed.
However, the same ruling lengthened the prison term for former Taoyuan County deputy commissioner Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) to 21 years and levied a fine of NT$10 million.
Yeh can still appeal.
The judges cited Chao admitting his crime and pleading guilty to all charges during an extra hearing on the public housing project bribery case at the court on Dec. 10.
In the first ruling by the Taipei District Court in March, Chao was sentenced to four years and six months in prison, while Yeh received a 19-year jail term.
After the verdict, Chao issued a statement through a company spokesman thanking the court for giving him an opportunity for rehabilitation, saying that he has learned from his mistakes and will do good.
Local media reports said Yeh was surprised when Chao pleaded guilty to all charges earlier this month, with Chao turning state witness against Yeh.
Critics said that Chao and his legal team won over the judges with a plea bargain ploy, pleading guilty and asking for leniency, and admitting to having paid bribes to Yeh and other officials for Farglory to secure contracts to build public housing units in New Taipei City and then-Taoyuan County.
The High Court’s verdict has caused a public furor, as many feel that the judicial system favors the wealthy, but severely punishes ordinary people.
Criticism has primarily focused on Chao getting off with a light penalty and not having to serve jail time, despite being found guilty of corruption.
Supreme Prosecutors’ Office officials issued a statement saying that they were “speechless” when they learned of the verdict.
The statement said the office cautioned against leniency and a suspended sentence for Chao.
“Throughout most of the trial, Chao did not admit his guilt. He did so only to take advantage of the situation,” it said.
“The process has been a significant waste of the judiciary’s precious resources,” it said.
Additional reporting by CNA
The Central Weather Bureau could issue a sea alert for Super Typhoon Mawar, as it is forecast to turn north and come closest to Taiwan from Tuesday to Wednesday next week. Mawar was downgraded from a super typhoon to a typhoon after sweeping across Guam on Wednesday night, knocking down trees and leaving much of the US territory without power. Many residents of Guam yesterday remained without power and utilities after Mawar tore through the remote US Pacific territory the previous night, ripping roofs off homes, flipping vehicles and shredding trees. There were no immediate reports of deaths and injuries, but the
ADJUSTMENTS: Over the next five years, every year except 2026 would have only one makeup workday to compensate for national holidays, the government said The Executive Yuan (EY) yesterday announced the official workday calendar for next year, which includes one makeup day and four holidays with more than three days off. It also announced new standards for makeup days in the event of consecutive holidays. The Directorate-General of Personnel Administration cited the importance of the Lunar New Year and Tomb Sweeping holidays to the public as its reason to mandate flexible off-days. The 115 total off-days dovetail with dates that international financial markets are closed, minimizing the effects of state holidays on stock and currency exchange trading, it said. Over the next five years, only the calendar for
INVASION UNPOPULAR: Chinese would likely accept their government having a softer stance toward cross-strait relations, one of the coauthors of the article said Interest among the Chinese public in the issue of China’s unification with Taiwan is low, researchers said, citing the results of a poll. An article titled “Assessing Public Support for (Non-)Peaceful Unification with Taiwan: Evidence from a Nationwide Survey in China,” published in the Journal of Contemporary China on May 14, showed that only 55 percent of those surveyed in China would support the use of military force to achieve unification with Taiwan. In the survey, which polled 1,824 people on the question of how they would like to see the issue of Taiwan’s unification with China resolved, “only one out of
EMBRACE CHANGE: Jensen Huang told NTU graduates that instead of worrying about AI itself, they should worry that people with expertise in AI would be taking their jobs Artificial intelligence (AI) is redefining the computer industry, and Taiwanese companies could play a major role in replacing the world’s traditional computers as they are the foundation of the industry, Nvidia Corp cofounder and CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said in Taipei yesterday. Huang made the remarks while giving the keynote speech at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) commencement ceremony. AI has created immense opportunities, and versatile companies can be expected to take advantage and boost their position, while less flexible firms would perish, he said. “In every way, this is a rebirth of the computer industry and a golden opportunity for the companies of