Taiwan's Double Standard, Money, Money, Who's Got the Money? Part II: Those Friggin Frigates

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Sunday May 09, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

It reads like a John le Carre spy-thriller. The ingredients are all there. Billions of dollars for military hardware-here read French Lafayette Frigates. The staggering amount for bribes and payoffs alone reaches well over US$600 millions of dollars. Even the PRC military got in on the action and were paid well not to protest France selling these ships to Taiwan. How France got the contract instead of South Korea which had seemed to have had it in the bag, is only the beginning; the known body count of accidental deaths and questionable suicides has reached at least 8 with falling out of windows from tall buildings seeming to be the accident of choice. Yes, even by Taiwan standards this is a scandal of scandals.

Yet from the death of the Taiwanese naval officer, Yin Cheng-feng, who appeared ready to blow the whistle, to the French company bosses who went to prison, to the French government officials who tumbled from grace, the only ones who did not seem to suffer from the fallout were all the KMT government officers and military. Six top brass military were indicted. None did time and the worst some got were a few demerits. Taiwanese government officials likewise dodged the bullet. What happened? Books have been written, you can search them out, but why has there been no resolution of this case that goes back to the 1990s, the KMT glory days of KMT profiteering?

So now, free-walking Diane Lee with her US$3 million, and James Soong hoping to get his hands on US$7 million of additional past "campaign funds" and many others seem like pikers in comparison. The Swiss banks that had frozen over US$600 million dollars, appear ready to give it back. It will be interesting to see how all this loot is divided. Ma's government says it will be transparent with the handling of it. Yet as the murky waters of the past still swirl and get darker, it is hard for one to believe that it will happen? Just like Taiwan's past days of White Terror when there were so many crimes, but so few revealed criminals, so here with so much corrupt money floating around and so many deaths, why has no one been found guilty?

Then there is Chen Shui-bian who must be wondering why he is the only blackbird in all these years and crimes who is in jail. (We do discount Ma's personal secretary who put in 9 months for Ma.) The answer is simple. The special allowances and campaign funds money laundering system developed by the KMT were meant only for KMT usage. So now with Taiwan under a KMT president, Chen, a DPP, can expect no mercy. And all that money? Out of US$600 million dollars, that will be something to follow down to the last NT$ dollar. Are you game?