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Court orders detention of ex-vice premier over corruption allegations

07/11/2024 07:34 PM
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Former Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (front, right) arrives at the Taoyuan District Court on Thursday. CNA photo July 11, 2024
Former Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (front, right) arrives at the Taoyuan District Court on Thursday. CNA photo July 11, 2024

Taipei, July 11 (CNA) The Taoyuan District Court on Thursday decided to detain former Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), who is being investigated for alleged corruption while serving as Taoyuan mayor from December 2014 to December 2022, and hold him incommunicado.

The district court made the ruling during a bail hearing after prosecutors appealed its bail ruling twice.

The district court said in a statement that it ruled in favor of the prosecutors, because it found their argument about Cheng using his political and business ties to influence the ongoing investigation into alleged corruption to be reasonable.

The argument was backed by messages Cheng sent to his secretary before he was questioned by the prosecutors on July 5, which showed that he already received information about the investigation, the court said.

Since there are still people who have not given statements in the ongoing investigation, the detention is necessary to prevent Cheng from discussing the case with others and coordinating their defense, according to the statement.

The court also said the offense Cheng allegedly committed is a felony that carries a minimum prison sentence of seven years, which indicates a higher flight risk.

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.

Prosecutors appealed the ruling at the bail hearing.

After the ruling, the Democratic Progressive Party's Anti Corruption Committee announced that Cheng's party membership will be suspended for three years starting Friday.

Meanwhile, Cheng's lawyer said they would appeal the decision.

(By Yeh Chen and Evelyn Kao)

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