A lawyer and a prosecutor yesterday castigated what they called a lenient ruling by the High Court on Luo Wen-shan (羅文山), whose prison sentence was reduced to two years, which he does not need to serve, after he was convicted for receiving illegal political donations from China to meddle in Taiwan’s elections.
Investigators found that Luo, who retired from the army with the rank of lieutenant general, had accepted NT$8.38 million (US$294,604 at the current exchange rate) under the guise of political contributions from Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Xu Zhiming (許智明) and people in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2012. He was also the head of the pro-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Whampoa Military Academy Alumni Association.
Luo was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in the first ruling.
However, the High Court on Tuesday reduced his sentence to two years, which can be commuted to a fine of NT$720,000.
The High Court also ordered the return of the NT$8.38 million Luo had received, as it was found that he was instructed to use the money to take out advertisements and purchase other promotional materials to support then-president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) election campaign.
Attorney Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) and chairman of the Taiwan Forever Association decried the sentence as being too lenient.
“It was a ridiculous court decision... The judges seemed wanting to encourage retired military officials to accept money from China to meddle in Taiwan’s democratic election,” Huang said.
“The High Court cited Luo’s advanced age of 85, him having no previous criminal conviction and his long years serving in the military. These are the reasons for reducing his sentence to a two-year term, which can be commuted to a fine. I see the judges had applied the wrong law for this case,” Huang added.
“Precisely because Luo had a long career in our nation’s military, he should understand much better the regulations governing political donations from foreign sources. Instead of abiding by Taiwanese law, he took money from figures in Hong Kong, and also from Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member Xu Zhiming [許智明] to do China’s work in Taiwan’s election,” he added.
“Luo is a retired general, and his pension is paid by Taiwanese taxpayers. Luo has clearly violated his duty and obligation of loyalty to the country, therefore his punishment should be more severe... We see the High Court had contradicted itself on the cited reasons,” Huang said.
In cases when convicts receive a reduced sentence due to advanced age, the defendants usually make admissions of guilt and of their wrongdoing, “but Luo denied doing anything wrong through the trials, insisting that the money was not for political purposes. Despite this, Luo still received a lenient sentence,” he added.
Meanwhile, a public prosecutor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also called for an appeal, saying the sentence was too lenient.
“Most court cases involving national security and espionage activities require sensitive handling and cannot reveal the classified materials, and are difficult for the investigation work,” the prosecutor said.
A video allegedly featuring retired general Kao An-kuo (高安國) calling on Taiwanese military officers to surrender to China and overthrow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has sparked outrage and calls for him to be charged with treason. The video, titled “A message to Taiwanese military officers,” allegedly shows Kao saying: “I call on commanding officers of our military troops to stand up for Chinese nationalism, to take up this duty under heaven’s mandate to save Taiwanese from oppression and terrible suffering.” Dressed in military fatigues and a beret, the lieutenant general called on officers to overthrow the “fraudulent DPP regime,”
HASTY REVIEW CLAIMS: Medigen’s vaccine, which is to start phase 3 clinical trials later this year, should not have received emergency use authorization, Hau said Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) vice chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) is to appeal the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization of Medigen Vaccine Biologics’ COVID-19 vaccine, he said yesterday. The administration on July 19 granted Medigen emergency use authorization, even though the drugmaker had not yet completed phase 3 clinical trials. The government should not authorize the use of a vaccine that has not completed phase 3 trials, Hau said in Taipei on the sidelines of an event to distribute boxed meals with former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Broadcasting Corp of China chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康). Hau said the government had politicized
HOUNDED ONLINE: Two Chinese firms said they would not extend their contracts with Little S, while another terminated its agreement following an Instagram post A high-profile Taiwanese TV host found herself the latest to draw fire from Chinese Internet users after referring to Taiwan’s Olympians as “national competitors.” Dee Hsu (徐熙娣) — better known as “Little S” — made the comment in an Instagram post on Sunday during the women’s singles badminton final between Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) of Taiwan and Chen Yufei (陳雨菲) of China. The post drew an angry reaction in China, where nationalist Internet users often police the comments of celebrities and companies for views that clash with the Chinese Communist Party’s official narrative that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are part
NEW NUMBERS: No deaths were reported yesterday, but there were 12 local cases and two imported cases — people who had returned from Thailand and the US The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that COVID-19 restrictions are expected to remain in place after Monday next week, as it reported 12 local infections and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the 12 local cases are 10 men and two women aged 10 to 80 who began experiencing symptoms between Thursday and Saturday. Six tested positive during isolation or upon ending it, he said, adding that the sources of infection have been identified in nine cases, while three remain unclear and would be investigated. Taoyuan reported five cases, all family