Chang Tung-jung sentence for influence peddling upheld
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-13 12:13 PM
Facing abysmal public approval polls last year, Keelung Mayor Chang Tung-jung did himself no favor in September by trying to intervene in the detention of a driver suspected of drunk driving. Chang even went personally to the local precinct police station to ask for the release of the woman, claiming later that he was acting as mayor on behalf of a voter to help protect her rights.

Chang lost in a court case and was given a 20-month sentence suspended for five years. He appealed the decision but lost again, learning Tuesday that the original sentence of 20 months had been upheld and his probation had been revoked. Chang responded by expressing his regret over the decision and said he will not rule out filing a further appeal.

The incident in question involved a woman driver who was observed by police sitting with a young boy in a vehicle parked illegally on the side of a street in Keelung two years ago. As a police officer approached the car the woman attempted to drive away, but she was stopped after the officers detected a strong smell of alcohol, The driver became agitated and assaulted a policewoman in the group of officers, and she was taken to a nearby police station for questioning.

The woman called a friend in the Keelung Municipal Government who then contacted Chang for assistance. Unfortunately when the mayor showed up he reportedly also showed signs of inebriation and shouted at personnel in the police station when they rebuffed his request to let the woman driver go.

Chang later denied that he was trying to interfere with the police in their performance of their duties, saying that he was simply acting on behalf of a voter to protect her rights as a citizen. He said he was not trying to put political pressure on the police officers in the case.

In the original trial Chang was sentenced to 20 months in jail with a five-year suspension, commutable to a fine of NT$2 million plus 200 hours of volunteer labor. The woman in the case was found guilty of violence against a public servant and sentenced in June to a prison term that was commuted to a fine of NT$180,000.

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