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Talk of the day -- Corruption case in Taoyuan government could hamper magistrate

2014/05/31 19:32:43

Taoyuan Magistrate Wu Chih-yang. (CNA file photo)

High-ranking officials of the Taoyuan County government have been implicated in five corruption and bribery cases over the past three years, dealing a severe blow to Taoyuan Magistrate Wu Chih-yang's re-election bid in November, even as the county is set to be upgraded to a special municipality in December.

In the latest case, Yeh Shih-wen has been dismissed from his position as deputy magistrate of Taoyuan County with immediate effect over his suspected involvement in a corruption case, the county government announced May 30.

The following are excerpts from local newspaper reports on the issue:

United Daily News:

Since Wu assumed the post as Taoyuan magistrate four years ago, he has been known for his amiable leadership style that is in stark contrast to the strict style of his predecessor Eric Liluan Chu, the incumbent New Taipei mayor.

When he was Taoyuan magistrate, Chu usually took preemptive action to deal with allegations of corruption and bribery against members of his administrative team before prosecutors and investigators could get involved, in an effort to prevent any backlash on the county government. He demanded the resignation of any high-ranking county government official implicated in corruption scandals.

Wu, on the other hand, was not aware until Friday, when law enforcement authorities showed up with a warrant, that Yeh was suspected of involvement in corruption.

Yeh has been held in custody over allegations of bribery involving Farglory Land Development Co. chairman Chao Teng-hsiung.

Prosecutors reportedly seized NT$10 million (US$332,000) in cash during a raid of Yeh's residence and office. Some of the money was allegedly obtained from Farglory Land Development as bribe in a bid for a government affordable housing project.

Although Wu has taken quick action this time, removing Yeh from his job Friday, the series of corruption cases involving local government officials has hurt the county government's image. (May 31, 2014)

United Evening News:

Some segments of the public are worried about whether the Yeh case would affect Wu's reelection bid for the head of the soon-to-be-upgraded special municipality of Taoyuan later this year.

Although Wu of the ruling Kuomintang holds a significant lead over the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's candidate Cheng Wen-tsan in the opinion polls, the KMT cannot afford to ignore the effects of the case on the election.

The key lies in the Taoyuan County government's response to the crisis.

A KMT source said that the matter would do little damage to Wu's campaign because Yeh had been in the deputy magistrate post for only one year and has no particularly close connections with Wu.

However, some legislators are of the view that the case would have some impact on the election, to Cheng's benefit. (May 31, 2014)

(By Evelyn Kao)
ENDITEM/pc

Related stories:
●May 31: Prosecutors widen bribery probe of ex-Taoyuan deputy chief
●May 31: Deputy Taoyuan magistrate detained on corruption charges