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Eight incumbent, former lawmakers sentenced on bribery charges
【Society】2011-09-27  18:01:04
Taipei, Sept. 27 (CNA) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang, along with seven of his former colleagues, were sentenced by the Taiwan High Court Tuesday to jail terms ranging from seven years and two months to eight years on charges of bribery in 2003.

Tsai and his former fellow lawmakers received bribes between NT$600,000 and NT$3.5 million from the Taiwan Dental Association for helping enact the national oral health act to put oral diseases under the coverage of the National Insurance Program.

Tsai, who was also a legislator at that time, received NT$3.5 million through his elder brother Tsai Chao-cheng from the association as a reward before and after the bill cleared the legislative floor.

The brothers were each sentenced to eight years in jail, along with deprivation of their civil rights for five years.

The seven former lawmakers and their respective prison sentences were -- Chao Yung-ching, Chang Tsai Mei, Chiu Chuang-liang and Lee Ming-hsien (seven years and six months in jail and three-year deprivation of civil rights); Yang Fu-mei and Lee Cheng-nan (seven years and two months in prison and three-year suspension of civil rights); and Liao Pen-yen (seven years and three months behind bars and three-year suspension of civil rights).

The latest ruling was a total reverse of the not guilty sentence by the Taipei District Court last year.

The High Court said it had gathered enough solid evidence showing the convicted officials for former officials had received money from the dentists group in exchange for supporting passage of the act.

Tsai Huang-liang, who was named by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as a candidate for legislator at large, said that the ruling was unacceptable since it was the result of political persecution (by the ruling Kuomintang). He vowed to appeal.

DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said that the guilty verdicts will not affect the candidacies of either Tsai, or Chao and Liao, who were nominated by the DPP to run for regional seats in the Jan. 14 legislative elections. (By Lai Yu-chia, Sophia Yeh, Wen Kuei-hsing & Bear Lee) enditem/ly
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