The Supreme Court turned down Wednesday an appeal by Hualien Magistrate Fu Kun-chi against an eight-month prison term he was given for stock speculation last year, ruling that the case is now closed and that Fu must serve his term.
The prosecution has been instructed to take action to prevent Fu from fleeing the country, according to a statement released by the Supreme Court.
Fu, along with several accomplices, was accused of having speculated in stocks of Taipei-based Hold Key Electric Wire and Cable Co. using many dummy accounts from October 2003 to January 2004.
During that period, the price of Hold Key stocks rose from NT$15.5 (US$0.5) per share to NT$40.6, the statement said, noting that the price hike generated "criminal transactions" valued at NT$118.48 million.
In 2008, Fu, who was then a lawmaker, was convicted by the Taichung District Court for violation of the Securities and Exchange Act and sentenced to four years and six months, combined with a fine of NT$50 million.
He appealed his case, meaning that it then went to the Taichung High Court. Fu in turn appealed the High Court ruling, so the case then went to the Supreme Court, which returned it to the High Court twice.
Fu, 56, who was elected Hualien county chief in 2009 and re-elected in 2014, was eventually sentenced to 16 months for stock speculation, commuted to eight months under the laws regulating criminal speedy trials and sentence commutation, but funds totaling NT$63.02 million that Fu was ruled to have earned via his criminal act will be forfeited.
After appealing the verdict to the Supreme Court, Fu saw his fate determined Wednesday, along with three accomplices who were also found guilty of stock speculation. The cases were then closed, with no avenues open for further appeals.
Meanwhile, Lin Ching-chi, head of the Director of Civil Affairs under the Ministry of the Interior, said Fu was relieved of his post that same day, citing the Local Government Act that stipulates heads of local governments be removed from their posts if they have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to terms of imprisonment.