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City councilors lie low in Tainan speaker bribery case

City councilors lie low in Tainan speaker bribery case

City councilors in Tainan are holding their breath following the detention of Council Speaker Lee Chuan-chiao at the airport early Sunday afternoon as he was preparing to board a flight to China. Lee is at the center of several controversies involving his election as speaker of the city council and even his election to the council last November.

Meanwhile the KMT is remaining mum on the episode, with KMT Chairman Eric Liluan Chu urging party members to refrain from making comments and saying that justice is to be done. Chu said that anyone found guilty of illegal acts regarding Lee and his election to the council and the speaker’s post should pay for their actions.

Five DPP city councilors were expelled from the party after an investigation showed that they had voted for Lee in the council speaker election in January. Tainan City Mayor William Lai has also refused to enter the council chamber until the matter is resolved, leading the council to pass a resolution against the mayor for failing to attend two special sessions of the council.

The Tainan District Prosecutors Office charged Lee and three others in connection with the bribery charges Monday. Lee is suspected of offering bribes ranging from NT$300,000 to NT$10 million to council members some three to four months before the speaker election. Prosecutors conducted a search of the council chamber and offices as well as other places around Tainan on Sunday in a coordinated sweep to gather evidence related to the case. A total of 19 persons were rounded up as possible accomplices or witnesses.

Prosecutors believe that Lee and the three others being held were involved in money laundering and bribery of public officials, a violation of Section 100 Paragraph 1 of the Election and Recall Act. Another four persons are suspected of bribery in the case but the judge ruled there was no need to detain them, and they were released with a warning that they could be called in to testify at any time.

Updated : 2021-09-19 20:29 GMT+08:00