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September 27, 2017

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Prosecutors will not back down in bribe probe

Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) announced yesterday that prosecutors will not relent in getting to the bottom of Lin Yi-shih's bribery case. "We'll search wherever the evidence take us, even if it involves a legislator in the South of Taiwan," he said.

Former Cabinet Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih was questioned and held incommunicado over bribery charges after businessman Chen Chi-hsiang exposed the alleged corruption through the media. According to Chen, Lin allegedly requested NT$83 million to secure a slag deal for the Chinese Steel Corp. (CSC). He reportedly accepted NT$63 million from Chen as a legislator two years ago.

Huang revealed there were roughly 20 stacks of cash that were yet to be counted, after Lin's mother Shen Jo-lan (沈若蘭) handed over a piece of luggage containing soaked money totaling NT$18 million. She retrieved the cash from the pond in her backyard; the money was previously hidden under a shrine. Prosecutors had difficulty counting the cash because the notes were stuck together, but they have now wrapped the money in dehumidifying packets to speed up the process.

Shen was listed as a defendant after she, along with Lin's wife, Peng Ai-chia (彭愛佳), presented the cash to the authorities. Huang confirmed that Chen was the only tainted witness, though local media have raised the possibility of Peng also gaining tainted witness status. When asked if there is another lawmaker involved, Huang reiterated that the task force held no favoritism and will go as far as the evidence takes them.

Cash Exceeds Alleged Bribery Amount

According to prosecutors, the amount of cash thus far recovered in Lin's case exceeds the total amount Chen allegedly gave to Lin. Prosecutors would not reveal how much money was taken from the safes in Lin's house, briefly stating it was "a couple of million" in New Taiwan dollars and U.S. dollars.

Lin was questioned a second time over the trail of money after prosecutors revealed that the cash exceeded Chen's alleged bribes. Prosecutors suspect Lin was involved with other bribery schemes. Lin insisted that there were no other accomplices. He also said he had burned some of the U.S. dollars in his possession. Huang said the Criminal Investigation Bureau was still analyzing ashes that were collected from a metal container in Lin's house that was used to burn paper money. Local reports say they plan to use testimonies from Peng and Sheng against Lin if he refuses to cooperate.

Ma and Chen Trust Mutually: Jiang

According to the Taiwan Mood Barometer Survey (TMBS ,台灣民心動態調查), public satisfaction with President Ma Ying-jeou has dropped to 21.4 percent, 1 percent lower than previous numbers. Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) noted that these numbers will be taken into account, but will not dictate decision-making completely. He also added that Ma has showed his sincerity to reform the administration by holding an anti-corruption seminar on Saturday.

People have been satisfied with Premier Sean Chen's brisk decision over Lin's resignation, according to the poll. The public's satisfaction with Chen rose by 4.2 percent to 23.7 percent. When asked if the relationship between Ma and the premier was damaged by Lin's bribery scheme blow, Jiang responded that the president and the premier are communicating closely with each other based on a trusting relationship.

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