Taiwan court scraps bail for lawmaker in bribery scandal

Chao Cheng-yu refused bail due to possible collusion with suspects, NPP leader gets bail

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Legislator Chao Cheng-yu arriving in court Saturday Aug. 8 

Legislator Chao Cheng-yu arriving in court Saturday Aug. 8  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Independent legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) will be detained after all as the Taipei District Court on Saturday (Aug. 8) scrapped an earlier favorable bail decision in the alleged payment of bribes surrounding the fight for control of the Sogo department stores.

Earlier, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) were ordered detained incommunicado over the allegations. Former New Power Party (NPP) Chairman Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) and ex-Foreign Minister Mark Chen (陳唐山) were released on bail.

Since then, prosecutors have filed appeals against the bail decisions. Meanwhile, attorneys for those detained launched appeals in an effort to overturn the detention orders.

In Chao’s case, the court agreed Saturday with the prosecutors’ argument that he might collude with other suspects in his case, CNA reported. He allegedly accepted bribes from undertakers, with NT$9.2 million (US$312,500) in cash discovered at his home during the raids that started off the current round of detentions.

However, the court confirmed the decision to allow Hsu out on bail. He has since left the NPP, though his case triggered internal tension, leading to the departure of two Taipei City councilors and the resignation of the young party’s entire leadership committee.

The other suspects were mostly alleged to be involved in a struggle for control over the Sogo department stores going back almost two decades. Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆), then-chairman of Pacific Distribution Investment Co., took control of the company but eventually lost it to the Far Eastern Group, which still owns it today.

Lee denies the accusations he paid lawmakers to exert pressure on government officials to reopen the case and put him back in control of Sogo.