Seeing Chen Shui-bian's so-called "money laundering" case from another angle

by Taiwan Echo and Tim Maddog

When the overseas deposits of former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁, AKA "A-bian") family -- said to be as high as 300 million US dollars -- were exposed couple of months ago, my instincts told me, A-bian will "die a horrible death" (to borrow Ma Ying-jeou's words). Forget about the insane hatred that pro-blue supporters have for A-bian. Simply because of the huge sum of the money, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will definitely crush him.

Below is how I see their "blue" print:

Chen Shui-bian claims that the money -- handled by his wife without his knowledge -- consists of leftover donations which came from his supporters during his election campaigns. If so, then the money would belong either to Chen himself or to the DPP -- the party that nominated Chen as a candidate. Whichever one of these it is, it's certain that the money belongs neither to the government nor to the Taiwanese public. And it certainly doesn't belong to the KMT.

But the KMT will most probably do everything it can to make that money their own. The only way they can do so -- in spite of the evidence -- is to use the judiciary tools that they control to fabricate the witnesses and evidence in order to pin the crime of corruption on A-bian. Only by adopting this approach can the KMT claim that the money should be "legally returned" to their hands (the current government, that is).

If we closely watch the investigation of A-bian's alleged "money laundering" over the past couple of months, here's what we see:

1. First, use politicians and pro-blue media to brainwash people into believing "A-bian is corrupt." No evidence is required. In fact the KMT has been applying the same tricks for years to conduct "trials by press" against pro-Taiwan people, so this is really nothing new.

2. Secondly, interrogate, detain, and/or arrest anybody you can -- whether connected to the case or not -- entice, threaten, or coerce them into becoming witnesses for the state by using approaches like, "If you testify that Chen Shui-bian took the money, we won't put you in jail."

Do you think this is unlikely? There are reports/video evidence that Taiwan police have threatened civilians with jail time: "If you don't shut up, I will put you in jail." When Chen Yunlin came to Taiwan, some Tibetans were threatened by the police, being told, "If you dare to go to the airport, you will be jailed for the rest of your life." (警威脅敢抗議 關你一輩子 (Protesters threatened by the police with life in jail))

So again, threats are a common tactic used by Taiwan's police.

3. To save their own asses, the people who have been threatened (for example, poor Yeh Sheng-mao, the former Chief of Investigation Bureau) eventually come up with some so-called evidence, maintaining the false illusion that the uncivilized KMT will somehow keep their promises to set them free.

4. After the fabricated evidence is collected and well-staged, the KMT takes those witnesses (who are no longer valuable to them), turns them into defendants, and gives them heavy sentences (look what happened to poor Yeh Sheng-mao!).

5. Even without any guilt or even a bit of evidence, they put Chen Shui-bian in jail for sure.

As the KMT continues this conspiracy, we will continue to see "witnesses becoming defendants after their statements are taken."

As a result, the KMT will claim that the large amount of foreign deposits owned by Chen Shui-bian's family actually "belongs to the government" -- the KMT-run government, that is.

Poor Yeh Sheng-mao

Earlier, when former Investigative Bureau chief Yeh Sheng-mao held a press conference to announce his decision to follow the attorney office's instructions to incriminate Chen Shui-bian, "The wife of my ex-boss persuaded me to follow the right path and be loyal to the country," I immediately thought: This time, he will be done for.

When you hear these kinds of "keywords" from Chinese culture -- like "persuading someone to follow the right path", "loyal to the country", etc. -- coming from the police or the judiciary system, you know that the moment of catastrophe is at your doorstep.

As I expected, even after Yeh Sheng-mao made statements that were unfavorable towards A-bian, he was still indicted and punished with a heavy sentence.

2008-9-25 :「北檢再傳葉盛茂 擬追訴涉洩密罪」
Taipei District Prosecutors' Office arraigns Yeh Sheng-mao again, intends to prosecute him for leaking secrets

2008-10-4 :「追訴兩起洩密罪 葉盛茂被求重刑」
Prosecutors up the indictment on Yeh Sheng-mao and seak for heavy sentence

2008-12-5 :「在葉盛茂重判10年 當庭癱軟」
Sentenced to 10 years in jail, Yeh Sheng-mao collapses in court

In the last report cited,

"The judge describes in the official indictment document that, the fund of Chen's oversea deposit ***might*** contain some money from the state affairs fund." (highlight is mine)

"Might" contain some money from the state affairs fund? The court made its judgment based not on evidence but on this kind of guesses?!

The only reason I can come up with is that the KMT in fact couldn't find any evidence, but instead had to resort to the claim that "some of the money in Chen's overseas accounts **might** belong to the government," otherwise they will have no way to get their hands on the money.

There's another case where witnesses became defendants after their statements were taken:
2008-12-6 : 「蔡美利、陳俊英 證人改被告」
Tsai Mei-li and Chen Chun-ying, originally witnesses, become defendants

Will Chen Chih-chung give his money to the KMT?

According to a report by Liberty Times, Chen Chih-chung, son of Chen Shui-bian, agreed to transfer those overseas money to the attorney's office
2008-11-27:「陳致中同意匯回7億 珍未反對」

Pay attention to the words below:


"The attorney office says that the fact that Chen Shui-bian's son Chen Chih-chung (陳致中) and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching (黃睿靚) have agreed to turn in the money could be considered as a reason for leniency. But it's too early to suggest a reduced sentence to the court because the investigation is still underway. Lin Chih-hao (林志豪) said Chen Chih-chung and Huang had made a verbal agreement to turn in the money (Echo note: remitted to a bank account created by the attorney office), following a suggestion of the attorney's office."

What is so shocking is that the attorney's office bluntly claims that "whether the money is turned in or not" will be considered a factor in determining a sentence.

Before the attorney's office has even provided evidence proving that this is government's money -- which they haven't been able to do so even after months of investigations using the manpower of almost the entire judiciary system in Taiwan-- the money still legally belongs to Chen's family.

Why on earth should Chen Chih-chung and Huang give their legally-owned money to the KMT government in order to have a lighter sentence considered in a case where the defendant has not yet been judged "guillty" by the court?

Isn't that blatant extortion by the attorney's office?

According to what has been reported so far, Chen Chih-chung and Huang have agreed verbally to that suggestion. I believe, if Chen really transfers that money to the KMT, or even if the Chen family "donates" all their wealth they have earned after generations, in the end they will still be given heavy sentences.

If someone is too naive to recognize the brutal nature of the KMT -- if that person fantasizes that as long as they open their hearts (and pocketbooks) to the KMT, then the KMT will keep their promises -- then that person will eventually lose everything.

We can forget about whether "this money should be returned to Chen's supporters." If Chen Chih-chung is smart enough, he should keep that money, so that in the difficult days to come he might have the chance to buy his way out. But as soon as he turns in the money, he loses any leverage with which to negotiate and brings himself and his family to a very tragic end.

Dazed and confused Taiwanese

According to what is revealed about Taiwan history, it has been a common approach for the KMT to coerce someone into making a false accusation (for example, claiming that some innocent person is a communist bandit), then kill him after the statement is taken.

Certainly, we won't see someone getting killed over that nowadays. The KMT's approach is far more delicate in this informative era. However, the conspiracy tactic still works the same way and is enough to get Chen family lose everything. Seeing that same old drama revealed right in front of our eyes, it sends a chill up my spine.

But how do the DPP, pro-green supporters, pro-Taiwan scholars, and pro-Taiwan bloggers see this huge amount of money? This really bothers me.

It's been months since Chen's overseas accounts were exposed. But I don't see any concern regarding whether this is the money that DPP supporters donated to Chen. If it is to be returned, the recipient should be the DPP. It should never be "returned" to a KMT government.

For the DPP and for everyone fighting against pro-China authoritarianism, limited resources are always a problem. The source of financial support is even more crucial when what they are fighting is an organ that owns all the state power of a country and that dominates the public opinion with biased pro-state media at the same time.

It's therefore a puzzle for me that I see only the KMT government is launching almost the power of entire country to take that money into their pocket, but none of pro-green supporters has made any effort to get it back.

Is it because that pro-green has never thought about this? Or to them the money is dirty so they feel despicable to get their hands on it?

I don't get it.