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Taiwan High Court rejects retrial for ex-transportation minister

Kuo expected to enter prison on January 8

Taiwan High Court rejects retrial for ex-transportation minister

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Former Transportation Minister Kuo Yao-chi was expected to start an eight-year prison sentence for corruption on January 8 after the Taiwan High Court rejected her request for a retrial Tuesday.
The Supreme Court confirmed the prison term on December 5 in a case which alleged Kuo accepted US$20,000 (NT$600,000) from a bidder for projects at the Taipei Railway Station in 2006. The former minister vigorously denied the charges, saying she never accepted money from the bidder and his son, whose allegations formed a key element of the prosecution.
Kuo recently said she would start a hunger strike on the day she entered prison if the request for a retrial and for a stop to the execution of the prison sentence failed.
The Taipei District Court and the Taiwan High Court first ruled she was not guilty because, even though she had accepted money from the Nan Ren Hu Group, she had done nothing specific in return.
The High Court then agreed to a rejection of the verdicts, leading her to be found guilty. The Supreme Court upheld the final eight-year jail sentence, causing Kuo to decide to file the request for the retrial.
According to prosecutors, the Nan Ren Hu Group wanted to bid for a contract involving new shops and businesses on three floors at the Taipei station in 2006. The group’s chairman, Lee Ching-po, was reportedly an old acquaintance of Kuo. He asked her for help on the bid, while after he learned that the minister’s son faced high expenses as a student overseas, he ordered his own son, Lee Tsung-hsien, to put the money in the tea box and give it to Kuo as a present, prosecutors said.
She ordered the Taiwan Railway Administration to revise details for the tender twice, prosecutors alleged. In the end, Nan Ren Hu dropped its bid because it found out millions of extra investment would be needed to renovate electric systems at the station, reports said.
When investigators raided Kuo’s home, they only found the box but no money inside. Lee and his son admitted having given the money, but said it was just a present to an old friend. They were not charged. Kuo denied ever having received any money from the duo.
She filed a suit for perjury against the younger Lee at the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on December 12.
Kuo has received strong support from her friends in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.


Updated : 2020-12-04 22:24 GMT+08:00