SID indicts High Court judge over corruption
By Lauly Li ,The China Post
December 24, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Special Investigation Division (SID) yesterday indicted Hu Ching-pin (胡景彬), a judge of the Taiwan High Court, Taichung Branch, and seized assets of an unknown origin totaling more than NT$40 million over allegations that Hu accepted bribes.
Hu is currently being held in detention.
The SID, the Taichung District Prosecutors Office and the Taichung branch of the Investigation Bureau held a joint press conference at which they said Hu's “corrupted behavior” had tarnished the nation's judiciary.
SID spokesman John Chang (張進豐) said investigators discovered assets registered under the names of Hu's wife and his two mistresses with a value of over NT$300 million, noting that the amount of money in question set a new record among those judiciary personnel involved in alleged corruption.
Asking Bribes from Litigants
According to the indictment released by the SID, prosecutors received a report in May 2010 claiming that Hu allegedly asked for a bribe from a litigant in civil lawsuit but failed to receive the money, a claim which initiated the SID's investigation into Hu's conduct.
Investigators said they discovered that Hu has two mistresses, surnamed Chong and Huang, as well as six children, and noted that it is impossible for Hu to raise three families at the same time on his monthly salary as a High Court judge. The investigators added that most of his family members do not hold jobs.
Authorities said that last October, Hu allegedly requested that Huang act as his “white gloves” (白手套), whereby she as a third party received a bribe of NT$3 million from a defendant; in exchange, Hu allegedly provided “favorable” treatment to the defendant in court.
Hu, on the other hand, allegedly “pressured” the plaintiff into reconciling with the defendant, the SID said, noting that Hu eventually received the NT$3 million.
The SID went on to say that even though Hu asked for NT$3 million, Huang in fact asked the defendant to put up a total of NT$5 million, and she allegedly used the extra NT$2 million to pay off her credit card debts and loans.
The prosecutors said that in addition to last year's case, Hu and his friend, a real estate developer surnamed Liao, allegedly sought potential bribes by investigations into litigants' financial statuses.
Family Owns Large Amount of Assets
The SID said that Hu holds assets of NT$2.92 million under his own name, but the assets held under the names of his wife and two mistresses are “incredibly large.”
The SID further noted that the savings registered under Hu's wife and son amount to at least NT$10 million, not to mention their holdings of high-end properties in Taipei and Taichung as well as 19 bars of gold bullion.
The assets of Hu's mistress Chong total NT$63.1 million, the SID said, noting that his other mistress Huang has assets of NT$171.82 million, including NT$10 million in cash stored in a safe-deposit box.
The 63-year-old Hu was accused of abusing his position as a district court judge to ask for bribes over 10 years ago, and he was once suspended for three years over his involvement in investments in an illegal private bank, according to United Evening News.