[JURIST] The Taipei District Court [official website, in Chinese] on Friday sentenced Taiwanese Prosecutor-general Huang Shih-ming to 14 months in prison for passing confidential information to the country’s president regarding investigations into corruption charges. The investigation referred to allegations of “influence-peddling” in the country, and the evidence against Huang was reportedly gathered [AFP report] by a wiretap on the phone of an opposition party leader. Huang was charged with three violations of the Communication Security and Surveillance Act, and was convicted [Taipei Times report] on all three charges, receiving two five-month and one six-month sentences. Huang is the first Prosecutor-general to be convicted in Taiwan, though he may appeal the sentence or to pay a fine of approximately $14,000 instead of serving the prison sentence. In response to the conviction, President Ma Ying-jeou’s [official website, in Chinese] popularity has shrunk to even lower levels, and the scandal has reportedly been described by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party as the Taiwanese version of the 1974 Watergate scandal that resulted in the resignation of former US president Richard Nixon. Huang has resigned from his office, holding to his earlier promises to step down from office if convicted.
The Taiwanese government has faced massive struggles against corruption in recent years and in 2011 launched [JURIST report] the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) to try to weed out corrupt officials and practices and to deter corruption in the future. That announcement came just one month after the indictment [JURIST report] of former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui on charges of embezzlement and money laundering. Also in October of 2011 another former Taiwanese president, Chen Shui-bian, embroiled in legal troubles over corruption, was given [JURIST report] additional prison time related to fraud and bribery charges. In November 2010 Taiwanese authorities indicted 13 people on charges of bribery, corruption and money laundering, including [JURIST report] three High Court judges. The indictments came after authorities raided [JURIST report] the homes of several High Court officials suspected of accepting bribes to reduce sentences.