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September 25, 2017

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Secretary-General Lin professes his innocence

Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih (林益世) insisted he did not request any sort of bribe from Ti Yung Co. owner Chen Chi-hsian (陳啟祥) at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

According to the NEXT weekly magazine, Lin was involved in a bribery scandal that included Chen, the owner of Kaohsiung-based Ti Yung Co., while serving his terms as a Kaohsiung Kuomintang (KMT) legislator. The report said Lin allegedly requested NT$63 million and NT$83 million to help negotiate slag supplement deals with China Steel Corp. (CSC). The United Daily News later released a photo, provided by a reader, of Lin and Chen talking outside of Ti Yung Co.

In response to these accusations, Lin said at the press conference, "I most certainly did not request any sort of bribes." He also denied the accusations of any deal-making with Chen in the photo, asserting it was a regular act of social service. Lin declared at the conference that integrity is a basic quality in serving the people.

The Special Investigation Division (SID) has commenced an investigation to gather evidence and information for the probe. The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office (KDPO) said it has not been able to contact Chen, who made the complaints to the NEXT magazine. The KDPO said prosecutors have already summoned Chen to testify over his accusations and that they have received information of Chen's whereabouts in Southern or Central Taiwan.

According to opposition parties, many remain skeptical of the two men's relationship. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) claimed they seemed to be "enjoying a good time" in the picture, and were acting in a familiar manner with each other. DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) also commented on the Lin-Chen relationship, stating that Lin should clarify the nature of their relationship.

The minor opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) proposed that an independent investigation committee be convened for this particular case. In the words of TSU convener Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信), Lin's alleged bribery scandal happened during his terms as a legislator, tarnishing his political image. Furthermore, Lin's status as secretary-general may cause disturbances within the Ministry of Justice, Hsu concluded.

In response, KMT whip Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) rebuked the proposal, saying that the duties of investigation should be left to the prosecutors. DPP whip Huan Wei-cher (黃偉哲) also added that the SID has already begun the investigation procedures, and that this should not provoke any additional confrontation between political parties.

When asked whether he will resign or take a leave of duty pending investigation, Lin stated he has already discussed the issue of his possible resignation with Premier Sean Chen. Lin requested that the investigation teams perform their duties to the best of their abilities in order to prove his innocence. "After I perform my responsibilities to the prosecutors and investigation teams, I believe I will be able to make my decision when clarifications are made," he said.

Executive Yuan spokesman Hu Yo-wei (胡幼偉) affirmed at a morning press conference that Lin did attend the Thursday morning Cabinet meeting, but resolved to leave early by order of the premier, after media reports claimed he did not attend. According to Hu, Lin was ordered to collect relevant information on the bribery allegation and to prepare a clarifying report.

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