Taiwan prosecutor investigates former Democratic Progressive Party official for corruption News
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Taiwan prosecutor investigates former Democratic Progressive Party official for corruption

The Taoyun District Prosecutor’s Office summoned the Chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and former Mayor of Taoyuan City, Taiwan, Cheng Wen-tsan, on Friday on suspicion of having violated the Corruption Prevention and Criminal Activity Ordinance and other laws, according to local media reports. The prosecutor said that Cheng violated Article 5(1)(3) of the Corruption Prevention and Criminal Activity Ordinance for accepting a bribe for an official act, and therefore applied to the court on Saturday for detention and a ban on interviews. The SEF confirmed that Cheng had resigned on Sunday.

Cheng is a leading political figure in Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He has served as deputy secretary-general of the SEF and spokesman for the DPP’s China Affairs Committee, and was responsible for issues involving Taiwan and China during his tenure as director-general of information at the Executive Yuan. He was nominated by the DPP to run for mayor of Taoyuan City in 2014 and was successfully elected, making him the youngest mayor at the time, and was subsequently successfully re-elected in 2018.

Cheng’s investigation may be related to a land development case during his tenure as mayor of Taoyuan, most likely the Taoyuan city government’s “Changes to the Linkou Specific Area Plan – Gongwu Industrial Zone Expansion Programme.” This plan was submitted to the authority’s internal affairs department for consideration at the end of last year. The court found that Cheng did receive NT$5 million in 2017 and returned it to the other defendant the following year, but was unable to prove that it was proceeds of crime. In the end, the court ruled that Cheng should pay a NT$5 million bond and be restricted from living in and traveling to and from the country, which the prosecution contested in court. Facing the questions from a large number of reporters outside the courtroom, Cheng did not make any response. Cheng maintains his innocence.

Kuo Ya-hui, spokeswoman for Taiwan’s presidential office, said that the president respected Cheng’s decision and hoped that the judiciary would uphold the spirit of fairness and investigate the facts as soon as possible. KMT Chairman Chu Li-lun, a major opposition leader, said that many people are skeptical as to why the case was not investigated until seven years after it happened, and called on the judicial unit and President Lai’s administration to provide further explanations.