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Ex-Taiwanese Pres. Arrested on Graft, Bribery Charges

Posted November. 14, 2008 00:57,   


Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was taken into custody yesterday over allegations of graft, bribery and other offenses by the special interrogation team he helped establish.

On Dec. 13 last year, Chen and then Korean Prosecutor-General Kim Jong-bin held one-on-one talks in Chen’s office, with one interpreter on hand.

Chen, who had been in power for seven years at the time, invited Kim to the meeting, which continued for almost two hours. They talked about things like Korea’s political situation and personnel matters.

When they began speaking about Korea’s prosecution, Chen complained about his country’s prosecution, saying, "Prosecutors are seeking to investigate my aides. How could I react?"

Kim answered, "When a nation is in difficulty, those with the trust of the people and organizations are needed, not those who share their thoughts with the head of state or his close confidants. Korea has made such efforts."

After the meeting, Chen allowed the setup of a special investigation division in Taiwan’s top prosecution office, similar to Korea’s central bureau of investigation at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul.

Kim told The Dong-A Ilbo over the phone Wednesday, "Looking back at the conversation I had with Chen in December last year, he might’ve had a premonition of his fate."

Since 2006, Kim has visited Taiwan once or twice a year to speak at seminars hosted by the Taiwanese Justice Ministry at its invitation. He talked about the prosecution’s neutrality in his first lecture.

Citing illegal presidential election funds as an example, Kim said, "Prosecutors must exercise their investigational authority in any case. This is their basic duty."

His lecture was reported by Taiwanese media. Members of the then opposition Nationalist Party visited Kim and said they envy Korea, where even those in power are prosecuted.

While serving as deputy prosecutor-general, Kim led a probe into illegal presidential campaign funds involving close aides to then Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. As chief prosecutor of the central bureau of investigation in 2002, he had arrested Kim Hong-up, the son of then President Kim Dae-jung.