Former Taiwan president taken to hospital
By DEBWU,Associated Press Writer AP - Wednesday, November 12
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was taken to a Taipei hospital Tuesday, a lawmaker said, prompting the suspension of a court proceeding to determine whether he should be formally detained on corruption charges.
Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party said the Taipei District Court ordered Chen, 57, to be evaluated for a possible injury he sustained earlier in the day en route to the court building.
Chen was in court when the ruling was issued.
There was no additional information on the circumstances of the injury.
The development was a bizarre coda for a day that began with Chen facing more than five hours of grilling from prosecutors investigating allegations of money laundering during his recently concluded presidency.
In early afternoon, he was driven in handcuffs from the prosecutors' office in downtown Taipei to the nearby court building.
As he was being led away from the prosecutors' office, Chen could be heard shouting, "This is a political persecution" and "Cheers for Taiwan."
There has still been no official statement from prosecutors on the case.
Chen said Monday night he believed his detention was imminent. Before facing prosecutors Tuesday he linked the likelihood of his arrest to attempts by newly installed Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to placate China, following violent protests last week against a visiting Chinese envoy.
"Long live Taiwanese democracy," Chen declared to his supporters outside the prosecutors' office. "Long live Taiwanese independence."
But Chen's defiance notwithstanding, millions of Taiwanese revile him for permitting his presidency to be mired in an atmosphere of systematic corruption.
Friends and close advisers have been imprisoned on a variety of graft charges, his wife is being tried for allegedly looting a special presidential fund, and Chen himself is facing a complex series of judicial probes.
Tuesday's questioning focused on allegations he laundered money and made illegal use of the special presidential fund during his eight years in office that ended in May.
Chen admitted in August that he broke the law by not fully disclosing campaign donations he had received, after a lawmaker alleged that Chen's son and daughter-in-law moved millions of dollars to Switzerland in 2007, and then forwarded the funds to the Cayman Islands.
At the time prosecutors said they wanted to determine whether the funds were indeed donations left over from political campaigns _ as Chen insisted _ or whether bribery might have been involved.
Under Taiwanese law, false declaration of donations is subject to a fine of $9,670, but money laundering carries a seven-year prison sentence.
Several lawmakers from Ma's Nationalist Party have recently alleged that the ex-president took large bribes in connection with a spate of mergers initiated by the government in 2005, when several small banks took over a number of well-established financial institutions.
Taiwanese newspapers have also reported that Chen received millions of dollars in bribes from Taiwan's Far Eastern Group. Both the company and Chen have denied those reports.
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