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September 24, 2017

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Lin gives partial confession over graft

Former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih (林益世)was taken into custody yesterday after partially confessing to bribery allegations at a 12-hour interrogation session. The Taipei District Court granted prosecutors' demand to detain Lin on the grounds that he was involved in the serious crimes of bribery and spoliation of evidence.

Both President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Sean Chen apologized over the implications of Lin's corruption, yesterday.

After attending the opening ceremony of the 30th academicians' conference at the Academia Sinica (中研院), the president said that there are no grey areas for public servants when it comes to integrity. It is very regrettable that Lin has been implicated in and detained for corruption charges, he added.

We will step up our efforts to rid the government of corruption, Ma said, adding that officials who accept bribes will be indicted and brought to justice; corruption will not and cannot be tolerated. The president emphasized the absolute importance of ethical conduct and moral courage of government officials — "We must learn a lesson from this unfortunate incident." After making his statement, the president left without taking further questions from the press.

At an Executive Yuan press conference held yesterday, Premier Chen expressed his sincere apologies to the public over the squandering the people's trust and the undermining of honesty by the government.

Local reports accused Lin last week of soliciting and obtaining bribes from Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥), owner of Ti Young Co. The reports contained a detailed description of Lin's negotiation with Chen. Lin had allegedly requested a bribe of NT$63 million for helping Chen secure a contract with China Steel Co. (CSC). According to the reports, Lin had asked Chen to pay another NT$83 million for the renewal of the contract. After Chen refused to pay, Lin allegedly blocked Ti Young's slag supply by pressuring China Steel Co. (CSC). In response, Chen took the story to the media. After the allegations were made public, Lin immediately denied all accusations, holding two press conferences to claim his innocence.

The Interrogation

Lin was questioned by the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors' Office for 12 hours on July 1. Prosecutor Tsai-Hung-jen (蔡鴻仁) said that he played recordings of Lin provided by Chen. According to Tsai, Lin admitted that it was his voice, but that he also came up with various stories to cover up what was actually going on in the recorded conversation. According to media reports, Chen came forward to the SID with the recordings after he went missing for several days. After a long, grueling session, the prosecutor said that Lin finally came clean at 4 a.m. after a short discussion with his attorneys.

Lin was then taken to the Taipei District Court where prosecutors requested to take Lin into custody. His confession provides sufficient evidence to press charges against him, prosecutors said. They also said that Lin had only confessed to parts of the charges, and the confession awaits further verification. After seven hours of deliberation, the court announced at around 10 p.m. that Lin will be held incommunicado for a duration of two months.

Lin's attorney, Lai Su-ju, said that Lin feels remorseful for hurting his family and for abusing the public's trust. Lin hopes that the people will give him a chance to redeem himself, Lai said. The attorney also expressed astonishment on her Facebook page when reports of Lin's confession were made public yesterday, indicating that she had assumed Lin was innocent the whole time.

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