Monday, July 18, 2005

Local Politics in Taiwan: a primer

All politics, goes Tip O'Neill's famous comment, is local, and no politics are more local than in a state that is not even a nation. The beat of local corruption here is ongoing as prosecutors may seek extradition for yet another corrupt local official who fled abroad.

Taichung prosecutors yesterday said they will order the arrest and possible extradition from the US of former Legislative Yuan speaker Liu Sung-pan (劉松藩), who is currently avoiding jail time. Liu was sentenced to four years in prison last September for taking kickbacks, but fled to the US, where he has been ever since.
What's incredible is not that the prosecution wants him to serve time, but the ease with which corrupt officials under indictment or with guilty verdicts returned are able to escape the country. Time and again a judge gives a corrupt official a week to report to serve his sentence, with the result that the official always leaves the island with his ill-gotten gains.

The quintessential corruption case of modern times is the Chu An-hisung case. Chu bought the Kaohsiung city council election in a breathtaking display of brazen corruption.
Longtime Taiwan-watcher Lawrence Eyton's article on the Kaohsiung City Council election that was bought by Chu An-hsiung is a great introduction to local politics on the Beautiful Island.

1 comment:

David said...

Couldn't agree more ... "Prosecutors have five times informed him to serve his imprisonment, but Liu did not appear." and now they're only *thinking* of extraditing him?