Head of supermarket chain Pxmart suspected of bribery

Head of supermarket chain Pxmart suspected of bribery
PHOTO: Youtube Screengrab

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Prosecutors interrogated Lin Ming-shiung, the head of supermarket chain Pxmart, for his suspected involvement in bribing the New Taipei City Government to secure urban development projects in Tamsui.

Lin, who also owns construction company Yuan Lih Group, is suspected of bribing former New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Hsu Chih-chien in 2011.

Investigators said Hsu met with Yuan Lih spokesman Tsai Jian-sheng several times at the Yuan Shan Club of Taipei and Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel to hash out the delivery of millions of dollars in kickbacks and to collude on shortcuts regarding two construction projects.

Hsu and Yuan Lih's officers allegedly discussed how to enable the construction company's proposal to smoothly sail through the city government's review, as well as ways to loosen building requirements. Hsu also provided bank accounts to receive bribes in the period between February 2012 and December 2014, according to the prosecutors.

Taipei's Agency Against Corruption also said Hsu tried to use his chairman position at several New Taipei City urban planning and renewal meetings to influence decisions in favour of Yuan Lih.

The development projects were done through Yuan Lih Group's subsidiary, Yuan Sing construction company. Prosecutors suspect Tsai was a representative negotiating on Lin's behalf.

The Agency Against Corruption yesterday obtained up to nine search warrants and conducted a raid on five Pxmart and Yuan Lih locations. A total of six suspects, including Lin and Tsai, were sent to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office for interrogation last night.

Both Lin and Tsai were later released by the Prosecutors Office and now are acting as witnesses in the case.

A Close Aide to New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu

The former deputy mayor Hsu, who was also a close aide to incumbent New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu, was detained on suspicion of helping two other real estate companies secure development bids in Xindian and Banqiao, respectively, in exchange for a total of NT$4 million (S$174,000) in bribe money, gold and two deluxe watches.

The Prosecutors Office launched its first search on July 29. Interrogation of Hsu, as well as his friends and family who served as liaisons to construction companies, was carried out. Hsu and Zhou Li-huei, who was suspected of helping arrange the meet-up with construction companies, were later detained.

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