Ex-president Chen Shui-bian mum on questions over parole violations

Taipei--Former President Chen Shui-bian (???) would not answer questions Saturday about possible violations of conditions laid down by prison authorities for attending a fundraiser dinner in Taipei on Friday night.

The former president took a high speed rail train back to Kaohsiung at 2:05 p.m. Saturday after attending the fundraiser sponsored by the Ketagalan Foundation the night before.

Accompanied by a caregiver, Chen walked out of the high-speed rail's Zuoying station with the help of a cane and headed to a taxi.

He ignored reporters who were following him and did not respond to any questions, instead nodding to supporters who greeted him outside the station.

Chen is currently on medical parole from a 20-year jail sentence for corruption. According to parole regulations, Chen has to apply to the Taichung Prison if he wants to leave his residence.

The application he filed to attend the fundraising gathering is believed to have only covered his travel between Kaohsiung and Taipei and his attendance at the dinner.

The Taichung Prison agreed on condition that Chen not enter the main venue of the fundraiser (and instead meet his friends in a side room), not go on stage, not give a speech, not talk about politics and not be interviewed by the press.

He was also expected to return to Kaohsiung immediately following the event.

Chen, however, entered the main venue of the fundraiser Friday evening, and challenged the conditions laid down by the prison by asking in a nearly five-minute, pre-recorded video if his speaking in public would hurt the government.

He left the venue after staying at the fundraiser for about an hour and a half but did not immediately return to Kaohsiung as the media had expected.

According to sources familiar with the Chen family, he went to Banqiao in New Taipei to meet with several friends there and possibly stayed overnight because it was late.

The prison on Saturday called in its staff stationed at the fundraiser and said it will review if Chen's behavior at the event violated the conditions laid down.

Chen was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 20 years in prison shortly after the second-term of his presidency ended in 2008.

He served his sentence at Taichung Prison until January 2015, when he was released on medical parole due to various ailments and has since lived in Kaohsiung.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel