TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Five Taiwanese lawmakers have been accused of taking bribes from businessman Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆) with regard to his attempts to regain control of Sogo department stores, and three of the lawmakers have been held incommunicado in accordance with a Tuesday (Aug. 4) court order.
Those being held include Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and his office manager Yu Hsueh-yang (余學洋); Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Chen Chao-ming (陳超明); as well as KMT lawmaker Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) and his office manager Ting Fu-hua (丁復華). Lee Heng-lung and political lobbyist Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a former aide to Su, have been arrested as well.
It is said to be the largest detention of incumbent lawmakers in Taiwan's history.
Su, Liao, and Chen were said to have taken from Lee bribes of NT$20 million (US$680,000), NT$8 million, and NT$6 million, respectively. They were in turn expected to pressure officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to amend the Company Law in such a way that would give Lee the upper hand in a legal battle against the Far Eastern Group over ownership of Pacific SOGO Department Store.
Former DPP legislator Mark Chen (陳唐山) and former New Power Party (NPP) Chairman and ex-lawmaker Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) are also involved in the bribery case and have been released on bail.
The financial flow of NT$1 million between Hsu and Lee was described by Hsu's office manager, Lin Yu-chieh (林鈺傑), as an emergency loan to cover the party's office payroll in February before government subsidies arrived. Lin insisted the loan had been paid back to Lee in full, citing the transaction records as evidence of his innocence.