Kaohsiung's Mayor-elect Han taps alleged felon as cabinet member

Kaohsiung Mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu selects man charged with fraud and illegal fundraising as head of Indigenous Affairs Commission

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Han Kuo-yu.

Han Kuo-yu. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Kaohsiung's controversial Mayor-elect Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), who last week was found to have been convicted of negligent homicide, yesterday (Dec. 3) announced that he has chosen an alleged felon to head the Kaohsiung City Government's Indigenous Affairs Commission, reported TVBS.

Han yesterday announced his first wave of cabinet candidates, and in addition to announcement of the selection of Wang Chien-chiu (王淺秋) as press secretary, he listed three more cabinet members, including former Kaohsiung City Council member Lin Kuo-chuan (林國權), who has been indicted for illegal fundraising. Regarding the choice of Lin, Han said he is looking for the right person, not a saint, and that he's "willing to give him a chance."

Lin is suspected of founding the Liholi Company (立和荔公司) in 2010, when he allegedly recruited dozens of attractive, voluptuous young women to join the firm. The women were then allegedly directed to pretend to seek marriage on online dating sites to lure and deceive financially well off male netizens.

In fact, the women were selling marriage consultancy contracts to the victims. By 2014, a total of 100 men had been duped, and the company had illegally absorbed more than NT$40 million in ill-gotten gains.

On Feb. 16, 2016, after an investigation was carried out by the local prosecutor, 78 people, including Lin, were indicted on charges of fraud and violating the Banking Act (銀行法). Currently, the whole case is still going through the first instance in the courts.

When asked by reporters why he selected Lin as head of the Kaohsiung City Government's Indigenous Affairs Commission, Han said he was not aware of Lin's personal information, but he was enthusiastic about his efforts to help Taiwan's indigenous people. Han then said, "If he has been punished by the law, it's OK to get a fresh start,"

Han himself had been convicted for negligent homicide in 2006, though this information was not released until after he won the Kaohsiung mayoral election.