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June 24, 2017

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Chiayi magistrate hits back at 'disruptive' probe

The China Post news staff--Chiayi County Magistrate Helen Chang (張花冠), a suspect in a NT$10 million graft probe, called the investigation "disruptive" and "slow" after reporting for questioning yesterday at the Kaohsiung investigation bureau.

Chang and her predecessor, Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), are charged with accepting bribes of up to NT$10 million from Chun Lung Development Co. (春龍開發公司) between 2004 and 2006. In exchange, Chang and Chen allegedly promoted and facilitated the development company's bid for Dapumei (大埔美) Intelligent Industrial Park, a promising build-operate-transfer (BOT) project. As of August, the pair has been free on bail.

Chang reported to the Ministry of Justice's (MOJ) Kaohsiung investigation bureau (調查局高雄市調查處) for questioning at 9 a.m. yesterday. Afterward, Chang stressed that she is innocent and fielded media questions on the front steps.

The probe has distressed Chiayi's investment culture and public confidence, Chang said.

Moreover, the pace of the investigation has been too slow, and has seriously impacted the county government's administrative efficiency, she said, adding that she hopes the damage to Chiayi County will end soon.

In late July, the MOJ and the Chiayi District Prosecutors' Office launched a large-scale raid on 51 locations and summoned some 40 people for questioning, including Chang and Chen. Both are members of the Democratic Progressive Party.

DPP spokesman Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) has criticized the crackdown, calling it a political ploy to draw the public eye away from another bribery scandal involving former Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih (林益世).

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