Yilan County Commissioner Lin Zi-miao (林姿妙) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is among a group of officials facing corruption charges related to an economic renewal project, the Yilan District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday.
Suspects linked to an investigation of a NT$5 billion (US$181 million at the current exchange rate) economic renewal project would likely face charges of corruption, money laundering, forgery, bid-rigging, possessing personal assets of unknown origin and financial irregularities related to county government projects, prosecutors told a news conference in Yilan.
Persons of interest identified by prosecutors include: Luodong Township (羅東) Mayor Wu Chiu-ling (吳秋齡) and former Yilan County councilor Liu Shih-chun (劉石純), both of the KMT; Yilan County Bureau of Land Administration Director Yang Tsung-ming (楊崇明); county Economic Development officials Chao Hong-hsun (趙竑勳) and Huang Yao-chih (黃耀智); former Yilan County Chamber of Commerce chairman Chen Cheng-hsun (陳正勳); Lin’s daughter, Lin Yi-lin (林羿伶); and former county KMT National Assembly representative Lin Shu-mei (林束梅), who is Lin Zi-miao’s cousin.
Prosecutors on Thursday searched 30 locations with Agency Against Corruption officers and served summonses to question more than 30 people in connection with the corruption probe.
The investigation centers on a 105-hectare project in Luodong Township, where prosecutors said that land originally designated as protected was rezoned for agricultural use in 2018, with a provision allowing for construction of residential buildings and public infrastructure.
Prosecutors said there were disputes and financial improprieties throughout the process.
An investigation also found apparent financial irregularities on another Luodong project to rezone industrial land to construct a residential building in 2020, and officials were suspected of profiting from a public tender project in 2019, prosecutors said.
Lin Yi-lin’s Yi Hsing Mining Co (益興礦業) was also implicated, prosecutors said.
Lin Zi-miao, 69, and Wu, 65, were transferred to the Yilan District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning before being released without posting bail yesterday.
Yilan County Department of Economic Affairs Acting Director Wu Chao-chin (吳朝琴) and the Yilan County Department of Agriculture’s agricultural affairs director Wu Tung-yuan (吳東原) were detained following questioning and a bail hearing yesterday to prevent tampering with evidence and possible collusion of testimony, Yilan County Chief Prosecutor Liang Kuang-tsung (梁光宗) said.
Legal experts and political pundits said that it was the first time an incumbent local head and township mayor have been questioned in connection with a corruption case, especially as they are seeking re-election later this year.
The KMT said that the Democratic Progressive Party orchestrated the probe to maximize its chances of winning seats in the year-end elections.
Summoning a county commissioner for questioning, without concrete evidence or indication of what laws have been contravened, tarnishes the commissioner’s reputation, KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said.
KMT Culture and Communications Director-General Lin Tao (凌濤) said that the judiciary should remain neutral in reviewing the matter, adding that the KMT would defend Lin Zi-miao’s reputation.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang
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