Jailed ex-magistrate returns to Hualien same day earthquake rocks Taiwan

Dubbed the 'King of Hualien,' Fu Kun-chi greeted by adoring supporters and a 6.1 magnitude earthquake upon release from prison

Fu Kun-chi (center) greets supporters next to wife, Hualien Magistrate Hsu Chen-wei (center right)

Fu Kun-chi (center) greets supporters next to wife, Hualien Magistrate Hsu Chen-wei (center right) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The former magistrate of Hualien County, Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁), was released from prison and returned to Hualien on Thursday, April 18, just hours before a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the city.

Fu was released early from a prison in Taichung on Thursday morning around 9:00 a.m., after serving a reduced sentence of 8 months related to stock market manipulation dating back to the early 2000s.

After being released, Fu headed back to Hualien City where he was greeted by a crowd of nearly 1,000 supporters, including the leaders of several political and business organizations along with the heads of 13 townships in Hualien.

Fu, who netizens have dubbed as the “King of Hualien” took to the stage and hugged his wife, Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), the current magistrate of Hualien County.

Supporters have urged Fu to run for election as a national legislator. Liberty Times reports that adoring supporters around the stage shouted slogans like “The spirit of the Sun has returned to Hualien, bringing light and warmth!” (太陽神重返花蓮發光、發熱).

Just hours later, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter directly under Hualien City shocked the entire country, resulting in minor damage and injuries.

Online commentators were quick to speculate on the coincidence, with some jokingly declaring that Fu should declare his candidacy to run for the presidency. “Declare your candidacy! This is heaven’s will!”

“He is heaven’s chosen one! The presidency must be his!” another wrote.

Recently, Foxconn tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) declared his candidacy for president after claiming to be visited by the sea goddess Matsu in a dream, who instructed him to announce his bid.

Others took a more sarcastic tone, “Can we please go without an earthquake to celebrate the King of Hualien’s release?”