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September 22, 2017

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Ex-prosecutor confesses to corruption

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Taiwan High Court prosecutor Chen Yu-chen (陳玉珍) yesterday confessed in court to breach of duty and accepting bribes.

In 2012, video arcade owner Shih Yung-hua (施永華) accused Chen of receiving bribes from him every month, totaling over NT$23 million. The Special Investigation Division (SID) questioned Chen and detained her in November last year.

While the SID investigated the case, Chen refused to submit to a polygraph test and on one occasion during questioning exercised her right to remain silent.

After months of investigation, the SID indicted Shih in March for running an illegal gambling arcade. It also indicted Chen, who has worked with the SID in her capacity as a prosecutor with the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors Office, on corruption charges for allegedly protecting the arcade owner in return for bribes of over NT$23 million.

Chen is the first woman prosecutor in Taiwan to be indicted for bribery.

The indictment by the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors Office calls for Chen to be given the "severest punishment possible" for the crimes.

Court Confession

During the court session yesterday, Chen said "I choose to make a confession," and proceeded to admit to taking bribes from Shih, and to neglecting her duty to the public by protecting him.

Chen also confessed to hiding the bribe money through an intricate money-laundering scheme.

In the court session, Chen said she protected Shih's illegal gambling operation not for the money, but because her and Shih's mothers are close friends.

She said Shih first asked for her help in September 2000. Shih then proceeded to give Chen NT$200,000 or NT$250,000 every month. Chen said she was not aware of the total amount of bribes she had accepted.

Chen said she would usually spend the bribe money or deposit it in a bank account a few days after receiving it.

When a judge asked if she knew that Shih's two video arcades were actually illegal gambling operations, Chen said she did not, adding that Shih had never told her the truth.

Chen also said that the agreement between Shih and herself was that she would help until Shih received a license to operate legally.

In response to prosecutors' accusation that Chen interfered in other prosecutors' cases into illegal gambling operation in New Taipei City while she served at the Banqiao District Prosecutors Office years ago, Chen said she was only providing professional opinions to her colleagues.

Chen's father, who also attended the court session yesterday, left immediately after the confession.

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