Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Prosecutors asked the court Monday to grant their request to detain former Cabinet official Lin Yi-shih and hold him incommunicado as charges against him of corruption are investigated.
The Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office convened a news conference at 4:30 a.m. that day to explain the case.
Chen Hung-ta, a spokesman for the SID, said that after 12 hours of questioning of former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih that did not end until 4:10 a.m., prosecutors concluded that he could collude with others to destroy evidence, so asked the Taipei District Court to grant their request that he be held incommunicado.
A hearing on whether to detain Lin was scheduled to be held that afternoon.
Chen said the prosecutors searched 11 locations in Kaohsiung and Taipei a day earlier, including Lin's residence in Taipei and his constituency office in Kaohsiung. Lin was not present when they searched his home.
Chen said Lin was involved in two charges, including the acceptance of a bribe and a demand for a bribe related to his duty.
He noted that Lin confessed to some parts of the charges during the questioning, but said the confession would require further verification.
Prosecutors began their investigation after a local magazine reported that Lin accepted a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) from Chen Chi-hsiang, the owner of Kaohsiung-based Ti Yung Co., to help the company secure a slag treatment contract.
The contract was offered by Taiwan-based China Steel Corp. two years ago, when Lin was a legislator.
Lin later sought a further NT$83 million from Chen Chi-hsiang between February and March this year. When Chen refused to pay up, Lin allegedly pressured China Steel, a listed company in which the government has a controlling stake, to stop supplying slag to Ti Yung for treatment.
Legal sources said that according to the Anti-Corruption Act, officials who accept bribes in relation to their duties could face up to life imprisonment and a possible fine of up to NT$100 million.
The same act also stipulates that officials who demand bribes related to their duties can face more than seven years in prison and can also be fined up to NT$60 million.
A judge said that if a defendant confesses during interrogation and voluntarily returns all illegal gains, sentences can be mitigated.
Lin has already confessed to wrongdoing and has pledged to return to the national coffers all of his ill-gotten gains.
Lin's lawyer asked the public to give her client an opportunity to repent.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called for a thorough investigation into the case.
According to Lin Chun-hsien, a DPP spokesman, that Lin's graft is a collaborative crime, as a tape recording that allegedly pins Lin down mentions delivery of the bribe in three parts, which suggests that other people could be involved.
(By Lin Chang-hsun, Huang Yi-han and Lilian Wu)