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Taiwan lawmaker to spend 2 years and 10 months in jail without losing salary

Independent Fu Kun-chi described by critics as the 'King of Hualien'

Legislator Fu Kun-chi apologizing to his supporters Thursday May 14 

Legislator Fu Kun-chi apologizing to his supporters Thursday May 14  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An independent lawmaker nicknamed the “King of Hualien” will have to spend two years and 10 months in jail for illegal stock market practices, but he will retain his seat and his salary as he has not lost his political rights, reports said Thursday (May 14).

Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁), 58, is a legislator and former county magistrate for Hualien who exerts considerable influence in the sparsely populated east coast region. He served as legislator for the area from 2002 until 2009, then ruled as county chief for the maximum two consecutive terms from 2010 to 2018, when his wife, Kuomintang (KMT) member Hsu Chen-wei (徐榛蔚), succeeded him.

After he spent seven months in prison last year for insider trading, he won a seat in the Legislative Yuan in the January elections. Even though a renewed stint in jail might be expected to cause the loss of his position and his salary and a by-election for his legislative seat within three months, his latest sentence for stock manipulation in a 1997 scandal did not include the removal of his political rights.

The Taiwan High Court sentenced Fu to two years and seven months last year, but following an appeal, the Supreme Court did not confirm the original prison sentence until Thursday, CNA reported.

While it was not immediately known when Fu would enter jail, the authorities were already taking precautions to prevent him from fleeing the country.

During a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, the lawmaker apologized to his supporters and said he would not draw his salary, or would donate everything to charity even if he continued to receive pay, the Liberty Times reported.