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Re-election to be impacted by deputy's corruption case: Wu

TAIPEI--Taoyuan Magistrate Wu Chih-yang (吳志揚) admitted Thursday that the corruption case involving his deputy will have an impact on his re-election campaign but that he will try to handle the situation properly.

Speaking during a radio interview, Wu said it is pointless to keep thinking negatively and that what is more important is to adjust, bravely face the crisis and make a new start.

Wu said he will report to President Ma Ying-jeou once the facts of the case become clearer.

Taoyuan Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) was detained by prosecutors on corruption charges last week for allegedly taking bribes from a real estate developer to help the company win a tender for the construction of a low-cost housing project.

Immediately after the case came to light, Wu dismissed Yeh and later removed several key county government officials from their positions.

The moves are widely seen as an effort by Wu, 45, to distance himself from the corruption scandal as he prepares for the election in late November. He was expected to win a second four-year term until the scandal added some uncertainty to the campaign.

Meanwhile, during a weekly Cabinet meeting Thursday, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) expressed sadness and regret over Yeh's case and called for a thorough investigation.

Jiang instructed the Ministry of the Interior to look into all projects that Yeh handled during his previous tenure as head of the ministry's Construction and Planning Agency and to refer any suspicious findings to the Agency Against Corruption.

Jiang confirmed that when he was interior minister, he received allegations of irregularities involving Yeh, which were later forwarded to the ethics department for investigation.

Although no wrongdoing was immediately identified at that time, investigators did not give up and continued to follow Yeh for many years, which eventually led to the discovery of the most recent bribery case, he said.

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