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Councilor in Tainan sent to prison for stealing sand

TAIPEI -- A High Court branch in Tainan City overturned a not-guilty verdict in a sand-stealing case against city Councilor Wu Chien-pao yesterday, ruling that he must serve a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence and be relieved of his post as a councilor.

Wu and former city councilor Lee Chuan-fu were charged with illegal removal of sand in the Tsengwen River after using shady methods to win a contract to dredge the river in 2004.

Wu and 25 others were indicted in August 2004 on charges of bribing officials, breaking the government procurement law and colluding with more than two people to steal public assets.

In August 2008, the Tainan District Court found Wu not guilty of the charges but sentenced Lee to two years behind bars, a sentence that was later commuted to one year.

Yeh Chu-cheng, a spokesman for the High Court's Tainan City branch office, said a three-judge panel had found that Wu and the other defendants intended to make illicit gains from the contract.

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