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Taipei mayoral candidates caught in crossfire of allegations

Taipei mayoral candidates caught in crossfire of allegations

Opposition Taipei mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang rejected accusations Thursday that he had accepted bribes from the traditional Chinese medicine sector, while ruling Kuomintang incumbent Hau Lung-bin denied he would drop out of the race over the Xinsheng Overpass scandal.
Su's denials followed the Taiwan High Court sentencing eight current and former lawmakers to heavy prison sentences for accepting bribes from a traditional medicine association in return for amending legislation in its favor. The politicians came from all over the political spectrum.
The Chinese-language Apple Daily said yesterday that Su also accepted NT$100,000 (US$3,100) from the association when he was a lawmaker preparing to run for Taipei County magistrate. Prosecutors interpreted the money as a political donation and did not indict Su, the paper said.
The former premier accused his opponents of trying to damage his chances in the November 27 mayoral election. The sudden emergence of this issue was due to political manipulation, he said. Su cautioned his Democratic Progressive Party supporters to be prepared for anything.
Recent polls have shown the opposition candidate advancing as Hau became embroiled in the scandal over the overpricing of plants and flowers for the Xinsheng Overpass renovation project.
A former section chief at the city government's New Construction Office was detained Wednesday with approval of the Taipei District Court. Prosecutors also wanted to detain a former NCO director and an employee of the main contractor, but they were released on bail. Until then, the city government had described the scandal as a case of negligence rather than of corruption.
National Taiwan University professor Lin Huo-wang, a prominent KMT supporter, called on Hau to step out of the race, but the mayor said he would lead his team and continue his re-election bid.
DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said the most important thing was that the Hau administration explained clearly to the public what had happened with the overpricing scandal. The overpass scandal has cast a shadow over Hau's re-election chances as well as over the International Flora Expo, which is scheduled to open just weeks before election day.
Top KMT campaign officials have expressed concern that a Hau defeat in November will cause a domino effect that could culminate in an opposition victory in the 2012 presidential election.


Updated : 2021-07-28 23:01 GMT+08:00