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Chen Tsiao-long's arrest in accordance with law, say prosecutors

Chen Tsiao-long's arrest in accordance with law, say prosecutors

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus yesterday condemned the Keelung District Prosecutors Office for arresting a DPP legislator on December 24, calling it a political maneuver and a violation of the country's Constitution. However, the prosecutors office argued that the arrest was made in compliance with proper legal procedures and followed Constitutional guidelines.
On Monday, Keelung prosecutors arrested DPP legislator Chen Tsiao-long (陳朝龍) for his alleged involvement in a vote-buying scheme seven months ago, when he gave some tea to a local personality.
Keelung head prosecutor Tsai Hsien-hsin stated that according to the Constitution of the Republic of China, no member of the Legislature may be arrested or detained without the permission of the Legislature when it is in session, except in case of "flagrante delicto."
He said that cross-party negotiations in the Legislature on December 10 had resulted in a consensus to set December 21 as the closing date of its 2007 session, and that a letter issued by the Legislature's Conference Department also specified December 22 as the date that the Legislature would break for recess this year.
Chen, who was released on bail yesterday, denied his involvement in any vote buying, saying that the vote buying allegation had been brought to the prosecutors' attention by one of his opponent's assistants seven months ago. He questioned whether the delay of his arrest by prosecutors had been a politically-driven maneuver. He said that he would not have been so stupid as to have sent the bribe via an express delivery service, and further questioned whether the prosecutors' sudden decision to probe the case was an indication that they had fallen prey to a political conspiracy.
DPP legislative head Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday that the Ministry of Justice had promulgated evidence of vote buying a few days ago, and specifically stipulated that "giving presentations that comply with social customs while participating in folk activities, temple fairs, weddings and funerals does not constitute vote buying."
Chen's present of tea should not constitute vote buying because it complied with social customs and Chen did not ask for any support at that time, Ker added. He also said that the Legislature was suspending its session instead of breaking for recess, and condemned the prosecutors' arrest of Chen as violating the constitution and ignoring standards constituting vote buying, as stipulated by the Ministry of Justice.
DPP Legislative Whip Wang Tuoh (王拓) said that prosecutors were knowingly violating the law in an attempt to prevent Chen from being elected in the January 12 legislative election.
Echoing Ker's sentiment, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that the Legislature was suspending its session, as scheduled, until the end of December.


Updated : 2021-06-24 19:13 GMT+08:00