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Farglory chairman's release request nixed

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei District Court yesterday rejected Farglory Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung's (趙藤雄) application to be released from detention, explaining that it believes it is still possible for Chao to flee the country or collude with conspirators.

Former Taoyuan County Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen (葉世文) allegedly demanded a bribe of NT$26 million from Chao over a public housing project in Taoyuan.

Chao allegedly ordered his subordinate Wei Chun-hsiung (魏春雄) to offer a bribe of NT$16 million to Yeh via intermediary Tsai Jen-hui (蔡仁惠). Prosecutors and the Agency Against Corruption busted Yeh after he received the NT$16 million.

The aforementioned four suspects have been detained and held incommunicado pending formal indictment at the Taipei Detention Center for over two weeks.

Given that Chao had confessed to bribing Yeh to secure Farglory's bid for the affordable housing project, the real estate tycoon last week applied to the court via his attorney to be released from detention.

The Taipei District Court yesterday afternoon held a detention hearing and summoned Chao for questioning. After two hours of procedures, the court made the ruling to maintain Chao's detention.

Farglory May Appeal Ruling

Farglory spokesman Yang Shun-chin (楊舜欽) said Chao has been detained for over 10 days and has been questioned by prosecutors many times. Yang said as there is no possibility for Chao to collude with others or destroy any evidence, hence Chao applied to be released on bail.

Yang went on to say that Chao is disappointed by the court's rejection, noting that it is unfortunate that the court does not believe him. The spokesman said Farglory will discuss with legal professionals regarding whether or not they will appeal against the district court's ruling.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office (TDPO) commented on the ruling, saying that it respects the court's decision to continue detaining Chao.

According to Taipei prosecutors, Chao, Wei, Tsai and Yeh all have confessed to the accusations.

Tsai reportedly requested to change from suspect to state-witness and claimed that apart from the Taoyuan public housing project, Chao also bribed Yeh for another affordable housing project in New Taipei City's Linkuo District.

Tsai's request, however, has yet to be approved by Taipei prosecutors as they deem that Tsai has not been completely honest with the bribery details, a source in the TDPO said.

Taipei prosecutors recently questioned more than 10 members of the Taoyuan and New Taipei public housing project reviewing committees in an attempt to clarify whether or not Tsai assisted Chao in offering bribes.

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