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September 21, 2017

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Court reconsiders Chao's bail, release

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan High Court yesterday retracted the Taipei District Court's decision to allow Farglory Group Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) and company executive Wei Chun-hsiung (魏春雄) to post bail and be released over a corruption case.

The Taipei District Prosecutors Office first filed for the detention of the two men as well as former Taoyuan Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) on Friday night. After Chao and Wei were released on bail of NT$5 million and NT$1 million, respectively, on Saturday, the TDPO filed for an appeal against the district court's ruling.

The Taiwan High Court subsequently retracted the ruling and transferred the case back to the district court. The High Court said in its announcement that the NT$5 million and NT$1 million bail were not enough to ensure that Chao and Wei wouldn't flee the country.

According to the prosecution, Chao had offered bribes to Yeh through retired professor Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠) in return for a government housing project.

The High Court acknowledged that accomplices Yeh and Tsai as well as Farglory employees and witnesses Hsu Tzu-chiang (許自強) and Chou Ming-hung (周銘弘) had given their testimonies.

Chao and Wei have violated the Anti-Corruption Act, the prosecution maintained. The High Court explained that such violations call for a prison term of one to 7 years.

As Seen by Local Media

The Ministry of Justice's Agency Against Corruption raided Farglory's headquarters in Taipei and the homes of the suspects on Friday, seizing NT$17 million in cash from Yeh's home and another NT$1.12 million from his county government office.

According to local reports, Tsai reportedly picked up the money from a Farglory office in Taipei on Chao and Wei's instructions. Tsai was seen pulling a wheeled bag into the building and leaving afterward — with the bag appearing bulkier — to meet Yeh at a Japanese restaurant in Taipei on Thursday night.

Yeh is being held incommunicado, while Chao has been restricted from leaving the country. Both men denied being involved in illegal activities during questioning.

The prosecution filed an appeal against the district court's decision to allow them to be released on bail due to the possibility that Chao might collude with other suspects over their testimonies.

According to the TDPO, Tsai admitted to handing a bribe of NT$18 million from Chao to Yeh so that Farglory Group would win a commission to build an affordable housing complex in Taoyuan County.

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