By Tsuei Hsiao-hu / The Wild East / Politics
Tuesday, 3 July, 2012
With his face covered by a gauze mask, an expressionless Lin Yi-shih (林益世) was spirited by cover of night into the back seat of an unmarked police vehicle among a crowd of outraged onlookers.
Members of the public surrounded the spectacle, with one member of the crowd crying out “You oughta be ashamed of yourself! With any luck you’ll be put to death!”
After twelve hours of interrogation by prosecutors, the recently resigned secretary-general Lin Yi-shih had confessed to corruption allegations made by the media last week.
Although the initial debacle is over, Lin’s case has revealed a potential minefield of corruption that could extend all the way to the president himself.
Lin’s fall from such a high-ranking government position has thrown the credibility of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) entire administration into doubt, declared opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Spokesperson Wang Min-sheng (王閔生) yesterday.
An article published June 27 in the weekly NEXT Magazine (壹週刊) accused Lin of soliciting a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) in return for assisting China Steel (中鋼) to secure a supply contract for refined ore, known as slag, two years ago, while serving as a Kuomintang lawmaker.
The DPP demanded President Ma make an official apology to the public and thoroughly investigate his Cabinet, which has been deemed suspect.
Follow the Slag
Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), convener of the DPP Caucus, went even further than Wang, saying Lin’s corruption has already been taken to the courts and awaits their verdict, but the president must take responsibility and immediately reshuffle his entire Cabinet.
“The Ma administration’s ability to run the country has not only been compromised, it’s been corrupted down to the last honest man. President Ma should think hard about the direction he is taking this country in. And he should treat this crisis as a top priority,” Ker demanded.
Meanwhile, the DPP’s former President Chen Shui-bian（陳水扁）is currently doing jailtime on unrelated – though far more ambitious – corruption charges.
“The president must apologize, as Lin’s case has distressed and shocked the public,” Wang concluded.
Spokesman Wang pointed out the likelihood that other lower ranking officials are involved in the scandal, since a percentage of the bribe Lin received would also have been handed out by Lin to assure the complicity of subordinate public servants.
Lin’s position as secretary-general of the Executive Yuan meant he was in very hot water. Lin received the first bribe from Chen Qi-xiang (陳啟祥), with the understanding that at the completion of the contract this year, Lin would receive an additional NT$83 million (US$2.7 million) for his trouble. However, the story broke headlines before Chen had dolled out the latter sum.
A Taipei district court ruled late Monday to hold Lin incommunicado.
Former Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih was transported from lockup by an unmarked police vehicle to the Taipei Detention Center (臺北看守所) at midnight, early Tuesday, July 3.
An official of the detention center remarked that after Lin entered the facility for his protection, he was processed according to the regulations, like all other inmates, and was issued with a serial number.