Ma Ying-jeou indicted, will resign as KMT chairman

AP reports:

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Prosecutors filed corruption charges Tuesday against opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou, a Harvard-educated lawyer many thought would be Taiwan’s next president.

The prosecutors said Ma had diverted $333,000 from a Taipei city expense fund between 2002 and 2006 when he served as the city’s mayor. The indictment was announced by Taipei High Prosecutors Office spokesman Chang Wen-cheng.

Ma has denied taking any money for personal use and was expected to address reporters later Tuesday evening. Ma “believes he is innocent from start to finish,” Nationalist spokesman Su Chun-pin said before the prosecutors’ announcement.

Ma, 56, had been under investigation since November and has repeatedly said he would resign as Nationalist chairman if indicted on corruption charges.

Since taking over as chairman in August 2005, he has been considered the front-runner to take over from Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party as Taiwan’s president.

The indictment could spell trouble for Taiwan’s relations with China. Beijing is believed to have high hopes that a Ma victory in the 2008 presidential elections would help lead the way to eventual unification between the rivals, which split amid civil war in 1949.

Xinhua reports that Ma resigned his post as Chairman of the KMT as of 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.

The Discussion: 9 Comments

Not looking good for Ma. He doesn’t even have the excuse that he needed the money for official business – it appears to be much clearer he took public funds and put them into his private accounts. He seems to be saying, “oh, sorry – I had no idea it was against the law”.

But wasn’t he the justice minister at one time – he should know it was illegal! Or is does the KMT believe that something is legal if a senior, popular leader does it?

On a side-note Michael Turton said something interesting on his blog. The Blues are whinging that this is politically motivated, yet the prosecutor is apparently one of Ma’s mates (was at his wedding as a witness). I think they’re rattled and know this is really bad for them. All I can say is it’s their own fault for screaming about President Chen for so long. Did they really think no one would investigate them too? Oh, I forgot – if a DPP leader does something, it’s corruption; if a KMT leader does something, it’s legal.

February 14, 2007 @ 1:13 am | Comment

If you follow the story, you will know that Taiwan’s law didn’t state how the money have or need to be used. Ma is the only one that is honest enough to keep a record of it. All other politicians just took the cash (we know they all did based on the record), and probably put the money under the mattress of something.

If you think the only corruption Chen is involved is the special fund case, you are mistaken. My family knows several big funders of DPP, you should heard their stories.

February 14, 2007 @ 3:38 am | Comment

Arty, if there was nothing wrong in taking the allowance for himself there would have been no charges as the case would be thrown out immediately. Allowances for public officials are to be used only for work-related matters – that does not include putting it into private bank accounts.

As former justice minister he should have known the law better than most people.

February 14, 2007 @ 5:46 am | Comment

LOL. As Joe Hung, the pro-KMT columnist for the China Post, pointed out a while back, Ma’s personal bank account has risen each month for the last eight years by precisely the special allowance amount. Ma has never spent the money.

As Eric Chen, the prosecutor in the Chen Shui-bian case pointed out, there is no evidence to suggest that the Chen family has pocketed any money from the Special Funds.

That said, the special allowance system needs to be abolished. It was one of the ways that the colonial KMT government transferred money from Taiwanese taxpayers into the pockets of its cronies. It is thoroughly and inevitably corrupting to have money transferred into personal accounts without any necessity for receipts. I would like a general amnesty declared for all recipients and an end to the entire special fund. This isn’t about Ma or Chen; it’s about Taiwan.


February 14, 2007 @ 8:58 am | Comment

Something interesting I would say, although given Ma’s high (and lonely) stature as the only KMT politician with any sort of prominence, it is inevitable that he would become embroiled in some sort of scandal.

Now I’m just waiting to see what sort of campaign the KMT mounts, but I’m glad that an investigation is being carried out–better to have clear results presented to the public than rumors and storm clouds circling over your head all the time. A purge should be carried out, if only to maintain the semblance of reform. Then they should get busy trying to pummel the DPP; I sincerely hope they win.

February 14, 2007 @ 10:50 am | Comment


Like Taiwan President Chen said, charges mean nothing until the trail ends with verdict. Taiwan’s law is not very clear on how to used the special allowance. Do you know why? It is used to funnel money, therefore, you don’t need the receipts. Ma of course knows the law and like I say, there is a reason you don’t need receipts…Is it right to put into his personal bank account? No. However, I am no fool on believing Ma is the only one doing it.

And Michael is right, the special funds etc. should be abolished.

February 14, 2007 @ 11:31 am | Comment


“Is it right to put into his personal bank account? No. However, I am no fool on believing Ma is the only one doing it.”

That is irrelevant, in as far as Ma’s case goes. If you break the law you have to pay, regardless of whether or not others have been brought to book.

February 14, 2007 @ 4:22 pm | Comment


“That is irrelevant, in as far as Ma’s case goes. If you break the law you have to pay, regardless of whether or not others have been brought to book.”

Is that right? One of the principal rules of law is equal application of the law process to all people. At least that’s one of the bases of US laws on AMENDMENT XIV of US constitution.

February 15, 2007 @ 3:45 am | Comment

It seems that the prosecutors are using a different interpretation of a murky law than the one used by practically all the politicans in Taiwan.

Alas, if the ROC legal system is anything similar to that of the US, then it’s easy to indict but hard to convict, as the criteria for conviction is beyond a reasonable doubt.

February 15, 2007 @ 10:12 am | Comment

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