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September 26, 2017

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KMT Keelung mayoral nominee released on bail

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰), who is also the Kuomintang's (KMT) nominated candidate for the Keelung mayoral election, yesterday was released on a bail of NT$1.2 million by a district court.

The Keelung District Prosecutors' Office on Wednesday requested that Keelung District Court detain and hold Huang incommunicado over allegations of taking bribes and improper lobbying.

After an hours-long detention hearing, the court released Huang on bail around 6 a.m. yesterday. The court explained its ruling, saying that as there is insufficient evidence and motive to prove that Huang may flee the country over an allegation of corruption, the court dismissed the prosecutors' request. The court, however, ruled that Huang must not leave the country.

A judicial panel of the court further noted that as prosecutors have questioned all persons of interest, witnesses and suspects in the case, prosecutors should not worry about Huang colluding with others.

Keelung prosecutors immediately appealed the ruling. The district later transferred the relevant documents to the Taiwan High Court for deliberation.

Stressing that Huang is the city council's speaker, prosecutors argued that he has all the connections and funds h needs to escape Taiwan. Prosecutors added they still need to clarify Huang's statements and they are worried Huang may collude with other suspects or witnesses.

Huang's Response

After stepping out from the district court yesterday morning, Huang told a member of the press that he is innocent, noting that, however, he will respect the prosecutors' jurisdiction.

Huang said that the cash that prosecutors found in his office in the city council building is political donations, adding that he explained the source and the intended use of the money to prosecutors.

Huang went on to say that he has known Jaysanlyn Group (JSL) — a domestic construction consortium — for a long time, stressing that all cooperation with JSL was carried out in accordance with the laws.

Huang added that as the investigation is still ongoing, he could not explain too many details regarding his relationship with JSL to the public at the moment.

The KMT Keelung mayoral nominee urged people not to take the opportunity to stigmatize him while the investigation is ongoing. He said he believes that Keelung citizens can discern right from wrong, adding that he hopes the mayoral election at the end of this year will be a fair fight.

KMT spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) yesterday said that the ruling party will continue to pay close attention to the case, noting that the issuance of disciplinary punishments will depend on the development of the case.

Huang is accused of taking bribes from several local construction firms and allegedly pressuring Keelung officials to offer benefits for the firms.

Keelung prosecutors said that during their search on Tuesday, they discovered cash and Chinese yuan worth NT$5 million in a bedroom of Huang's office in the city council building. Prosecutors claimed that Huang could not clearly explain the source of the money.

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