Ex-general charged with graft

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2009, 12:00am

Taiwanese prosecutors have indicted a retired general and eight others on charges of corruption in one of the island's worst military scandals.

They are also seeking a 22-year jail term for former Reserve Command deputy director Yuan Hsiao-lung, 59, for allegedly accepting expensive gifts and entertainment from military contract broker Lin Chih-chung, prosecutors said yesterday.

'The defendant was also charged with leaking military secrets, trying to use NT$6 million [HK$1.4 million] to get [a] promotion and extorting NT$500,000 from his subordinate in order to buy a car,' Cheng Hsin-hung, spokesman for the Panchiao district prosecutors' office, said.

The leaked information related to contracts opened to public bidders, including the A-TYI Sky Eagle project for construction of the base for AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopters, the LS2 Leshan Project for construction of a missile arsenal and 25 other military construction projects, the indictment said.

Mr Cheng said Lin, 38, approached Yuan in 2006 through his subordinate Chung Yung-hsiang, who was in charge of military construction contracts.

Knowing Yuan wanted a promotion to head the Reserve Command, Lin allegedly offered to help. He told Yuan he had a friend who knew then deputy presidential secretary general Tso Yung-tai very well. Lin claimed the promotion would cost NT$6 million and he had given his friend NT$500,000 as an advance payment.

In return, the friend, identified by him as Mike Chen, gave a letter of recommendation said to be written by Mr Tso to Yuan for submission to the defence ministry. However, Yuan failed in his bid for promotion.

Mr Cheng said 27 contracts won by Lin and his associates were subcontracted to local construction companies, and prosecutors had not found that any of the project information had been leaked to the mainland, as some local media had said.

He said prosecutors had indicted seven others, including five of Lin's assistants, another military contract broker Wu Yu-cheng and Tsai Yu, wife of military officer Yang Tung-shan, for their alleged involvement in the bribery case. Prosecutors, however, did not recommend any jail sentences for them.

Yang, a colonel Chung Yung-hsiang and another officer, Wang Tsung-te, all in active service, were indicted by military prosecutors in January for accepting bribes and leaking military secrets.

According to the military indictment, Lin allegedly bribed the officers with cash and sexual services to get inside information on tenders.