Five current and former legislators were yesterday among those found guilty of graft, exercising undue influence and related charges in a large political corruption scandal, with the Taipei District Court handing down sentences ranging from seven to 10 years.
Lawmakers and aides contravened the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over the ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) was sentened to eight-and-a-half years and was ordered to forgo NT$6.2 million (US$207,984) that he accepted as bribes.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
KMT Legislator Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) received a sentence of seven years and eight months for coruption, with NT$1 million confiscated.
Independent Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker, was given the heaviest sentence — a 10-year jail term and NT$15.8 million confiscated for corruption.
Former New Power Party (NPP) legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) was sentenced to seven years and four months for corruption, although the evidence showed that he did not receive bribes.
Independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was found guilty of tax evasion after receiving kickbacks from companies on property deals, the court said.
Chao illicitly reported the money as political donations, it said.
He got a six-month term, which can be commuted to a fine, and was ordered to pay NT$60,000.
Investigators found that Lee was the central figure in the corruption scandal, paying NT$36.54 million in total in bribes to legislators in exchange for holding public hearings at the legislature, putting pressure on government officials and using political influence to help his company gain ownership of Pacific SOGO Department Store, Taipei District Court spokeswoman Huang Pei-chen (黃珮禎) said.
“Lee cooperated during the investigation and agreed to be a state witness, which was pivotal in clarifying the details of the case,” Huang said. “Prosecutors requested a lenient term for Lee, combining four counts of bribery into a 14-month term, which can be commuted to a fine, and fining him NT$10 million.”
The relatively heavy sentences for Chen, Sufin, Su and Hsu were because they did not admit to wrongdoing — including bribetaking — and did not cooperate with the investigation, Huang said.
Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a former aide to Su, received a two-year sentence and was ordered to pay NT$6 million, while Ting Fu-hua (丁復華), Sufin’s office director, was handed a 22-month term and ordered to pay NT$1 million, the court said.
Others embroiled in the scandal were Chen’s office director, Liang Wen-yi (梁文一), who received a five-year term and was ordered to pay NT$500,000, and Chao’s office director, Lin Chia-chi (林家騏), who was sentenced to two years and ordered to pay NT$5.99 million.
After the rulings were announced, Su said that the NT$15.8 million from Lee was a private loan and not a bribe, vowing to appeal.
When he was indicted in September 2020, the DPP suspended Su and he quit the party soon afterward.
Chen and Siluko also had their party rights and privileges suspended after their indictments.
The KMT yesterday said that their suspensions would remain in place pending the end of the legal procedures.
It urged a careful examination of the facts and for the courts to give “reasonable decisions” in the case.
The New Power Party said that it “respects the ruling from the Taipei District Court over the case involving our former chairman, Hsu Yung-ming.”
“We will take political responsibility for the case, which all party members should deem as a warning for the consequences of such actions,” it said in a news release.
“Two years ago, all of our members and supporters experienced a difficult time because of the case, but we have not given up,” it said, adding that it would win back the trust of the people and humbly accept honest criticism.
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan
LOYALTY: The 10 active and retired soldiers betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on military secrets to China, the High Prosecutors’ Office said Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing. The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime. The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei. The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and
PEACE AND STABILITY: ‘Taiwan can be of tremendous value’ in building resilient supply chains, President Tsai Ing-wen said, as she encouraged closer ties with foreign businesses A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely for the time being due to the internal challenges and international pressure that China is facing, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the New York Times in an interview shown on Wednesday. “My thought is that perhaps this is not a time for them [China] to consider a major invasion of Taiwan,” Tsai said in a prerecorded interview for the DealBook Summit held by the newspaper on Wednesday. Beijing’s leadership is presently “overwhelmed by its internal challenges” on economic, financial and political grounds, while the international community “has made it loud and clear that war is