Focus Taiwan App
Download

High court revokes bail for former vice premier a second time

07/10/2024 11:16 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
Former Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (fourth right) steps out of the Taoyuan District Court, which rejected prosecutors' detention request and granted a release on bail on Tuesday. CNA photo July 9, 2024
Former Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (fourth right) steps out of the Taoyuan District Court, which rejected prosecutors' detention request and granted a release on bail on Tuesday. CNA photo July 9, 2024

Taipei, July 10 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court on Wednesday again overturned a lower court's second ruling granting bail to former Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), who is being investigated for alleged corruption while serving as Taoyuan mayor from Dec. 2014 to Dec. 2022.

Cheng was released on bail of NT$5 million (US$154,057) last Saturday. However, after prosecutors lodged an appeal, the High Court on Monday revoked the original ruling and ordered the Taoyuan District Court to hold another bail hearing.

On Tuesday, the district court granted bail to Cheng a second time after again rejecting a detention request from prosecutors.

Cheng was released by the district court for a second time on increased bail of NT$12 million (including the previous NT$5 million) after paying an additional NT$7 million late Tuesday. The court also imposed limits on his movements and banned him from leaving the country.

Prosecutors appealed the ruling at the bail hearing.

The High Court revoked the second bail ruling on Wednesday, saying there were several unanswered questions left by the district court in allowing bail, including why the district court overlooked the possibility of collusion between Cheng and other witnesses, as well as Cheng's substantial influence in the city government.

The High Court argued that collusion is still likely as several suspects were released or granted bail after having been questioned by prosecutors.

It indicated Cheng is well-connected in Taiwan's politics-business circles which shows he has a very high political status and social influence and this makes it easy for him to collude with others.

According to a statement issued by the district court Tuesday, the court said it found no evidence to justify detaining Cheng, saying he left his post as Taoyuan mayor more than 18 months ago, and noting it is doubtful he still has influence in the city government.

The district court also dismissed prosecutors' concerns that Cheng could tamper with evidence, collude with witnesses and other suspects, or even influence civil servants and witnesses.

The district court indicated that four other suspects have been detained, with only one 90-year-old suspect granted bail, and therefore there is little possibility of collusion between Cheng and them.

The case came to light last Friday when Cheng was summoned by the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office as part of an investigation into alleged corruption involving a land zoning deal that occurred while he was mayor of Taoyuan.

After questioning him, prosecutors suspected Cheng accepted a bribe, leaked information to other suspects in the case, and laundered money, and they filed a motion to detain and hold him incommunicado.

After serving as Taoyuan mayor, Cheng became vice premier in January 2023 and stayed in the post until May 20, 2024, when he was appointed chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in the new administration.

He stepped down from his SEF post on Sunday amid the corruption allegations.

(By Hsieh Hsin-an and Evelyn Kao)

Enditem/AW

    0:00
    /
    0:00
    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.
    172.30.142.81