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Keelung council speaker released on bail; prosecution appeals
Central News Agency
2014-06-19 10:39 AM
Taipei, June 19 (CNA) A mayoral candidate of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) on Thursday blamed corruption charges against him on electioneering after a judge released him on bail. Huang Ching-tai, speaker of the Keelung City Council, appeared to be in good spirits early Thursday as he spoke to reporters waiting at the Keelung District Court. He had been detained for questioning since June 17. Huang, 48, told reporters that he hopes the mayoral election in November will be one of "gentlemanly competition without intentional smears." He claimed innocence and added that the voters in the northern port city are "clear-eyed" when asked whether he is worried that his prospects in the election will be affected by the accusations he faces. Huang made the comments after a judge released him on NT$1.2 million (US$40,000) bail, rejecting a request by prosecutors that he be detained. Huang is banned from traveling overseas, however. The prosecutors immediately appealed, saying there is a risk that Huang could flee the country. A high court judge will decide shortly whether to overturn the district court's ruling. A day earlier, the prosecutors requested Huang's detention, accusing him of influence peddling in favor of a construction company in return for a bribe. The investigation began after the prosecutors received tip-offs that Huang had pressured Keelung city government officials to allow a construction company to bypass conservation regulations when building a show house. The prosecutors brought in eight suspects, including Huang, for questioning Tuesday after nearly NT$5 million in cash was found in Huang's office, which he was unable to account for. Huang's legal troubles present a dilemma for the KMT, which might have to consider naming an alternative candidate for the November election, in which Keelung voters will pick a successor to Chang Tung-jung, a controversial KMT mayor who will step down after two four-year terms. On Thursday, the KMT said it will decide whether to discipline Huang based on the development of the case. (By Sunrise Huang, Claudia Liu and Jay Chen)
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