Taipei- Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? Not the Taipei district court, which handed variety show host Jacky Wu a suspended 22-month jail sentence for fraud last Friday, after he agreed to a plea bargain. The 51-year-old, who had faced up to 10 years in prison, was also fined NT$3 million (S$127,000).
China Times said he was saved by a medley of 13 Hokkien numbers he sang at the Golden Melody Awards in July, which impressed the prosecutors. The performance, which moved and amused the audience at the Taipei Arena, was also the part of the show with the highest television ratings.
His lawyer said the prosecutors offered an unexpected plea deal in court, presenting a slide show on Wu, including the Golden Melody Awards performance, and saying he "should stay in the entertainment business and serve the public".
The lawyer said: "I must emphasise that in the two years we fought this lawsuit, we never pleaded guilty."
But he added that his client's career would have been ruined by a sentencing and immediate travel restrictions.
Wu, owner of LED company Alpha, had been indicted on fraud charges in March.
According to the indictment, he signed a make-believe, NT$180-million contract with a friend to supply 600,000 units of products which Alpha, a small company, did not have the capacity to manufacture.
In a press statement last Friday, Wu swore by his parents that he had done nothing against his conscience and said he had been implicated in the case by a "childhood friend".
"I can choose to be cautious, but I can't choose my childhood. Some frustration you have to swallow yourself. Heaven knows, earth knows, you know, I know."
Netizens were unimpressed by the court's ruling.
One said: "If it's the man in the street, may the judge give him a chance to go on stage at the Golden Melody Awards."
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