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September 22, 2017

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SID replaces most of its prosecutors

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Justice Ministry's special investigation task force has replaced almost all of its prosecutors, including its controversial spokesperson.

Ten of the 12 members of the reshuffled Special Investigation Division (SID) are new, according to the ministry's committee for screening prosecutors' appointments.

The SID is made up of prosecutors to tackle high-profile and serious corruption cases, such as the one against former President Chen Shui-bian.

But the task force has long been accused by critics of lacking determination to come down hard on Chen.

Its spokesman Chen Yun-nan was particularly singled out by critics who called him the "most stubborn."

It was said that Chen Yun-nan insisted on resigning from the SID.

The reshuffle comes after the nation's new prosecutor general, Huang Shih-ming, took office last month.

Huang remarked that the new SID lineup would be made up of prosecutors with integrity and experience in handling big cases, and who could keep quiet about their cases.

Observers were cited by the Central News Agency as saying that the new appointments met Huang's descriptions.

Chen Chien-hung, head of the Kinmen District Prosecutors Office who has taken over as the SID spokesperson, is said to have a lot of experience in handling the media.

He has served at the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, and as spokesperson for the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office.

While at the Taipei District Prosecutors Office in 2003, he was in charge of an investigation into a highly political case involving former President Lee Teng-hui and People First Party Chairman James Soong over a substantial sum of money.

The ruling Kuomintang has recently demanded Soong return the money it claims to be its own.

Only two members, Tsai Chiu-ming and Yueh Fang-ming, from the previous SID lineup stayed on.

Tsai has long been involved in the investigation into alleged bribery in the purchase of French-made Lafayette frigates.

Yueh has been investigating former President Chen's corruption case, as well as the March 19, 2004 shooting that left Chen injured.

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