Chen Yu-chen. (File photo/CNA)
Chen Yu-chen, a Taiwanese prosecutor who was honored last year for her work, has been arrested on suspicion of corruption and is being held incommunicado, the Supreme Prosecutors' Office Special Investigation Division said Tuesday.
The Taipei District Court has given permission for Chen, who works at the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office, to be held in detention without contact with others on the grounds she is likely to flee the country, destroy evidence or collude with witnesses in the bribery case, the SID said, adding that several of her relatives and friends were found to have income from unaccountable sources.
The Ministry of Justice on Tuesday approved Chen's suspension from her post, with immediate effect.
Chen is suspected of accepting bribes from video game operators to cover up illegal gambling operations between 2000 and 2006, according to the SID.
After more than one year of investigation, prosecutors raided 10 locations, including Chen's home and office, on Nov. 3 and summoned her for questioning on Monday.
The investigators sought and obtained permission from the Taipei District Court to detain Chen incommunicado in early Tuesday. Investigators said they were tipped off in February 2011 by a video game operator Shih Yung-hua that Chen was taking bribes from other video game operators.
Shih also ran a series of newspaper ads between August 2011 and March 2012, alleging that Chen had accepted his bribes between 2000 and 2003, while she was head prosecutor of the Banciao District Prosecutors Office.
At the time, Chen denied the allegations, saying they were "completely unfounded" and she sued Shih for defamation of character. The case has not yet been heard.
The SID, however, said that its investigators found that Chen did indeed take bribes during her term at the Banciao office and after she was promoted to the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office in 2004. The amount of money involved could be the highest in Taiwan's history of judicial corruption, the SID said.
Chen was honored by the government in 2011 for her work in helping to prevent domestic violence, sexual offenses and harassment in the workplace.
During her term as head prosecutor of the Banciao office 2000-2004, she prosecuted many cases involving the abuse of women and children. She also served as executive secretary of the Association for Victims Support during that period.
Chen was one of the investigators in the high-profile Lafayette frigate kickback scandal and the notorious Hsichih trio case, in which a couple living in New Taipei was brutally murdered.