[JURIST] Taiwan established an anti-corruption agency Wednesday in an effort to quell corruption among government officials. The Agency Against Corruption (AAC) aims to reduce and deter corruption [CNA report], raise conviction rates for corrupt officials and protect human rights. The agency is composed of 180 members who, along with other law enforcement authorities, will handle investigations into ethics violations. Cases will then be turned over to federal prosecutors. Members of the Kuomintang (KMT) [official website, in Chinese], a Taiwanese political party, urged the AAC to promise a 10 percent increase in the country's corruption conviction rate, alleging that citizens are dissatisfied with the current 55 percent conviction rate.
Corruption has become increasingly problematic in Taiwan. Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui was indicted [JURIST report] in June on charges of money laundering and embezzling money from a secret diplomatic fund. Earlier that same month, Taiwan's Judicial Yuan [official website] President Lai Hau-min announced a new law [JURIST report] to remove judges deemed by a committee to have been involved in corrupt activities. In November 2010, the Taiwan Supreme Prosecutors Office indicted 13 people [JURIST report], including three High Court judges, on charges of bribery, corruption and money laundering. The three judges were accused of accepting more than NT $5 million (USD $155,000) from former legislator Ho Chi-Hui [JURIST news archive] in exchange for clearing him of charges related to a corrupt land-development project. Last August, the Taipei Prosecutors Office [official website] conducted raids [JURIST report] on the homes of several High Court judges and 18 other locations searching for evidence related to the bribery deals. The three High Court judges were arrested [JURIST report] on corruption charges in July 2010 and were suspended from duty following their arrests. The judges' indictments follows the Taipei High Court's acquittal [CNA report] of former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on charges of embezzling USD $20 million from banks [JURIST report] that sought to protect themselves during Chen's financial reform program. Chen is also appealing a 20-year sentence for corruption and embezzlement.