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Pingtung City mayor indicted on corruption charges

2015/12/11 19:29:43

Pingtung City Mayor Lin Ya-chun (林亞蒓, left) and her husband Chen Chun-liang (陳俊良, middle). (Photo from Chen Chun-liang's Facebook)

Taipei, Dec. 11 (CNA) The Pingtung District Prosecutors Office on Friday indicted Pingtung City Mayor Lin Ya-chun (林亞蒓) and her husband Chen Chun-liang (陳俊良) on corruption and forgery charges and asked that they be given stiff penalties.

According to prosecutors, the couple are suspected of defrauding the Pingtung County government of NT$9.6 million (US$292,000) from 2006 to 2013, during which Lin, a member of the Kuomintang (KMT), served as a county councilor.

Chen was found having applied for governmental subsidies through five civic organizations during the period with the help of his wife, who had the power to recommend subsidies for social welfare groups.

The five civic groups, including the "New Century Women's Service Association," were all found to be established at Chen's home address, and they all had Chen serving as their chief executive.

None of the groups had ever operated or convened any assemblies of members or board meetings, the prosecutors office said in the indictment.

Between 2006 and 2013, Chen allegedly acquired invoices from a private company owned by a businessman, known only by the surname of Huang, and then applied for subsidies in the name of the five civic groups Chen managed with the invoices and Lin's endorsement.

A total of 253 such applications were made and approved during that period, with the county government paying NT$9.6 million in subsidies, prosecutors alleged.

The case was exposed last year when Lin ran as the KMT nominee in the Pingtung City mayoral race, held on Nov. 29. Lin won the race to become the first female mayor of the city in history.

After concluding its investigation, the district prosecutors office filed the indictment, in which it charged Lin and Chen for corruption, fraud and forging documents, and Huang for violations against the Business Entity Accounting Act.

After the indictment was handed down on Friday, prosecutors asked the Pingtung District Court that Chen, who has been detained since August 2015, remain in custody. The court agreed to the request.

Lin was taken in for questioning in August but released on NT$300,000 bail.

Prosecutors accused the couple of spending the money they obtained fraudulently to purchase home appliances and golf gear for personal use, and pay off their personal credit card and insurance bills and the cost of private activities.

The prosecutors recommended the couple be severely punished because Chen and Lin have not been willing to confess to the scheme and have not returned any of the money that was illicitly obtained.

They were also found trying to collude in eliminating evidence and make their confessions identical, the prosecutors said.

(By Kuo Chu-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)