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May, 27, 2016

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Councilor accuses Ko aide of taking Farglory bribes

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilor on Friday claimed that Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) close aide had accepted bribes from Farglory Group (遠雄集團), developer of the Taipei Dome.

DPP Councilor Wang Shih-chien (王世堅), speaking to Formosa Television (民視), said he had heard how someone in Ko's administration received a "huge sum" of money in return for smoothing negotiations in the Taipei Dome case.

"That person is someone who is about to resign," Wang said, referring to Taipei City Government policy consultant Hung Chih-kun (洪智坤), a close aide of Ko who announced Thursday that he intended to resign for health reasons.

Hung has responded to the accusation on Facebook, saying he would sue Wang for defamation.

Wang claimed that he had brought up the issue with the Taipei City mayor. On Friday, Ko denied having prior knowledge and said that Wang had not spoken to him in a while.

Wang told Formosa Television that Hung had accepted a "substantial amount of money" in return for "handling the Taipei Dome case."

He alleged that Farglory Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) had revealed Hung's misconduct during recent court hearings.

Ko Refuses to Back Hung

In an interview with local media, Ko declined to vouch for Hung's innocence, but said he was not sure why the Farglory chairman would accuse Hung of accepting bribes during court investigations.

The Taipei City mayor denied that Wang had spoken to him about the Farglory bribery case and said he would address the allegations once substantial proof had been furnished.

Hung to Leave after Elections

Ko confirmed that Hung had mentioned the possibility of resigning at the end of January.

Hung had indeed mentioned difficulties at work one or two months ago, Ko said. "The Taipei City Government is a hard place to work at after all."

Taipei City Government spokesperson Lin Ho-ming (林鶴明) said that Hung had yet to submit his formal resignation, and that Hung had taken a leave of absence on Friday.

Lin confirmed that Hung planned to leave his multiple government positions at the end of the month, an informal decision that was conveyed to Ko on Thursday. Ko has said he respected his aide's decision.

On Thursday, Hung cited health and "stunted personal growth" as the major reasons for leaving his post.

Hung was a vital aide in Ko's campaign during the 2014 municipal elections. After Ko's winning bid, he became part of the Taipei City Government as a policy consultant specializing in political environment and planning and executing long-term operations.

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