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Keelung prosecutors target mayor hopeful

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), who is also the Kuomintang's (KMT) nominated candidate for the Keelung mayoral election, yesterday was requested to be detained by prosecutors over an alleged corruption case.

The Keelung District Prosecutors Office (KDPO) on Tuesday searched the Keelung City Government and Huang's City Council office. Seven officials and Huang were taken back to the prosecutors' office for questioning.

Apart from Huang, the rest of the seven suspects yesterday morning were released on bail, prosecutors added.

Prosecutors noted that they received a report, claiming that Huang was involved in improper lobbying and allegedly pressured Keelung officials to offer benefits to certain construction consortiums.

The KDPO further noted that Jaysanlyn Group (JSL) and Highwealth Construction allegedly pressured Keelung officials via Huang so the two firms wouldn't need to submit soil conservation project proposals or pay construction application fees.

Keelung prosecutors further said that during their search on Tuesday, they discovered cash and Chinese yuan worth NT$5 million in a bedroom of Huang's office in the city council building.

Prosecutors said during the questioning session that Huang could not explain clearly the source or intended purpose of the NT$5 million found in his office, therefore they suspect construction consortiums might have offered the money.

Prosecutors questioned Huang for nearly 12 hours, the KDPO said, noting that the council speaker did not refuse to be questioned overnight and Huang took only a 10-minute break every hour.

The Keelung District Court yesterday said as the case is complicated and is receiving a considerable amount of attention, the court has appointed a judicial panel to review the prosecutors' detention request.

The court said once the panel completes its review of the detention request, it will hold a detention hearing as soon as possible.

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