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June 29, 2017

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Prosecutor-general gets 14 months for leaking secrets to Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei District Court yesterday sentenced Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) to a one-year, two-month prison term for disclosing wiretapped conversations during an ongoing investigation of an opposition lawmaker to the president.

The court ruled Huang guilty on charges of leaking classified information to President Ma Ying-jeou in violation of the Criminal Code and the Communication Security and Surveillance Act (通訊保障及監察法). The sentence can be converted to a NT$420,000 fine. The case can be appealed.

Hung is the first top prosecutor to be sentenced to a prison term in R.O.C. history.

In response, Huang, who previously pledged he would resign if he was convicted of leaking secrets, yesterday decided to keep his promise by announcing in a statement plans to step down from his post even though he still insists he has broken no laws.

Huang's lawyer also insisted on the top prosecutor's innocence, saying that the ruling is unacceptable, as Huang briefed the case to Ma to protect Taiwan's judicial system.

The top prosecutor's four-year term was due to end on April 18 irrespective of his intent to resign.

According to the ruling, Huang briefed Ma on Aug. 31 about tapped telephone conversations indicating that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) in late June allegedly ask then-Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) and Taiwan High Prosecutors' Office head prosecutor Chen Shou-huang (陳守煌) to prevent high court prosecutors from seeking an appeal in Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Ker Chien-ming's (柯建銘) breach of trust case.

It was not until Sept. 5 that the Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Supreme Prosecutor's Office, which reports to Huang, concluded its investigation and decided not to press any charges against Wang or Ker, the ruling said.

Huang reported the case to Ma during an ongoing investigation, thereby violating the Criminal Code and the Communication Security and Surveillance Act.

In response, Huang's lawyers said in a statement that Huang reported the case to the president because he found some irregularities between Wang and Ker as they both tried to influence a legal case, which is in violation of the constitution.

Calling the ruling a humiliation for Huang, Huang's lawyers said they will appeal the case to the high court to clear the top prosecutors' name.

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