Taoyuan launches Aerotropolis investigation

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang announced Friday that his government would hand over all documents regarding the controversial Aerotropolis project to the Agency Against Corruption at the Ministry of Justice.
After new opposition Democratic Progressive Party and independent city mayors and county magistrates took office last December 25, they opened investigations into questionable projects espoused by their Kuomintang predecessors.
The Taoyuan Aerotropolis project surrounding Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has attracted the attention of protesters and critics alike because of the necessary land expropriation and the involvement of former Taoyuan County Vice Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen, who was detained for allegedly accepting bribes for other development projects. While no corruption has been shown on the Aerotropolis plan, his involvement has drawn suspicions.
“Taoyuan needs to find the courage to correct past mistakes so it can stand at a new starting point to continue moving forward,” Cheng said at a city government meeting Friday.
The company in charge of the Aerotropolis had seen its roles simplified by the new government to the recruitment of investors and to promotional activities, according to an online statement by the new mayor. All other functions would be taken on by the relevant city government departments, allowing the city council to have a thorough view of the project, he said.
Cheng added he had entrusted one of his deputies, Chiu Tai-san, with the formation of a special taskforce to investigate the project. Officials from the city’s accounting, finance, economic development and anti-corruption departments would conduct a thorough reviews of all related documents before passing them on to the MOJ, the mayor said.
The Aerotropolis project was heavily promoted by the central government of President Ma Ying-jeou and by successive Taoyuan County magistrates, including Eric Liluan Chu, who now runs New Taipei City, and John Wu, who lost the November 29 election to Cheng.