Corrupt prosecutor sentenced to 10-year prison term

TAIPEI - Former Chiayi district prosecutor Chan Chao-shu (詹昭書) was formally sentenced to 10 years in prison and 6 years deprivation of his civic rights by the Taiwan High Court Tuesday morning.

Chan was found guilty of having accepted bribes from business owners. Not limited to cash, he accepted cars and furniture as gifts from the owners in exchange for his help, advice and leniency in their times of need while Chan served as prosecutor and leader of the National Land Conservation Taskforce in Hsinchu.

During his tenure, Chan was introduced to Chang, a person of interest in the case, through a mutual friend, during a time when Chang was having troubles with local aboriginals over property disputes regarding the expansion of his hot spring. Chan's eventual intervention using his authority as taskforce leader proved beneficial to the hot spring owner, who has since provided Chan and his family with the use of the hot spring's restaurant and facilities at no charge, and also offered Chan the free use of his motorcycle and SUV.

A sludge plant owner surnamed He, another person of interest, became acquainted with the convicted under the vouch of Chang, who guaranteed Chan's abilities and position as prosecutor. The sludge factory operated by He was, at the time, surrounded by angry residents protesting He's operations. Chan advised the plant owner to present a formal case on the specific day when Chan was scheduled to have his rotation in office, so that the convicted could prosecute the case in favour of He.

After receiving the case, the sludge plant owner entrusted Chang with NT$60,000 (S$2500); half of which was given to Chan at an undisclosed location near the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office while the other half was handed over within the compound of Chang's restaurant, who specifically chose the location in order to record the process for his own self-preservation, an act which later became vital evidence.

Chan was indicted, while serving as a Chiayi district prosecutor, by the Agency Against Corruption.

The Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office originally found Chan not guilty as his actions, though humiliating to the prosecution body, were not conducted on behalf of a prosecutor but rather on Chan's own behalf. The verdict, however, took a 180-degree turn in his second trial. Though Chan was not present at his hearing, the high court formally convicted him on charges of corruption and abuse of authority, ordering the return of the accumulated amount of bribes during his tenure as Hsinchu district prosecutor, an amount exceeding NT$736,000.