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Old Posted Oct 10, 2014, 10:23 AM
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BES says cousin of mayor asked it to cancel bid

By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter

BES Engineering Corp (中華工程) ran a full-page advertisement in four of Taiwan’s major Chinese-language dailies yesterday, claiming that another bidder had been favored from the start for the Taipei Twin Towers project.

The company also alleged that Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) cousin, Tung Hai-lung (董海龍), asked BES Engineering chief executive officer to drop the company’s bid.

Last year, BES was awarded the project — which is to link the future Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line with Taipei Main Station — after Taipei Gateway International Development Co (太極雙星) withdrew due to corruption scandals.

However, negotiations with the city government broke down after new conditions for signing the contract contract were imposed last month, leading to BES Engineering officially losing the tender on Sept. 30.

“The main point of the advertisement is to emphasize that Mayor Hau has favored a particular contractor throughout the bidding process,” BES Engineering spokeswoman Tseng Chiung-ying (曾瓊瑩) said.

“When Taipei Gateway International lost its eligibility, the mayor had already decided against signing a contract with us,” Tseng said.

She said the city government had deliberately dragged out negotiations to devise signing conditions that the firm was incapable of meeting.

BES Engineering has already appealed a court ruling against its request for an injunction and would consider other means of legal recourse, she added.

The mayor denied there was any conspiracy.

“Using threats and intimidation when negotiations break down is a poor approach” Hau said. “BES Engineering had orally agreed to all of our conditions. We merely required them to put those promises into a legally binding document.”

He denied that Tung had asked BES Engineering to drop its bid and called on the firm to provide evidence for the accusation.

When questioned on whether potential legal action would delay the search for a new contractor, Hau said that everything would be done in accordance with legal procedure.

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Old Posted Oct 14, 2014, 4:53 AM
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Inside 1st fl lobby
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Old Posted Oct 14, 2014, 2:00 PM
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Taipei City government to build twin towers on its own2014/10/14 18:32:11

Taipei, Oct. 14 (CNA) Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said that the Taipei City Government will carry out the scandal-plagued Taipei Twin Towers project on its own instead of contracting the project to any property developer.

BES Engineering Corp. has lost its qualifications to work on the project because it failed to pay fees and submit required documents after being awarded the project last year, Hau said.

BES is the second contractor to be awarded the project only to lose it. The first-place bidder, a consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development Co., withdrew after accusations of corruption in the bidding process.

As the city government does not accept the terms offered by a third bidder, according to Hau, it will undertake the project on its own through the municipal Department of Rapid Transit.

The project calls for two new towers in the aging western part of Taipei that will link railway and subway lines to bus terminals and serve as the hub for the metro line to Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan's major gateway, which is set to open in late 2015.

With one tower rising 56 floors and a height of 243 and the other 76 floors and a height of 322 meters, the buildings are expected to cost more than NT$60 billion (US$1.97 billion).

Calling the project important to Taipei's development, Hau said the city is eager to complete the project in the next 5-6 years.

The decision to hand it to municipal rapid transit authorities follows five unsuccessful bidding processes and, Hau said, will guarantee the quality of the towers' construction.

Tsai Hui-sheng, director of the Department of Rapid Transit Systems, said his department has about NT$30 billion in a development fund and is open to the idea of letting investors join the project.

Sinyi Realty Inc., one of Taiwan's leading property sales agencies, said that the decision by the city will be in the public's interest as such a large-scale project needs leadership from the government.

(By Huang Li-yuan, Wei Shu and Frances Huang)

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Old Posted Oct 15, 2014, 3:22 PM
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Construction of 'Twin Towers' to be carried out by Taipei City: Hau

By Chi-hao James Lo, The China Post
October 15, 2014, 12:01 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday announced that the prolonged construction difficulties of the “Taipei Twin Towers” (雙子星) will be resolved, with the project no longer up for bids from development companies.

During his inspection of the construction of the MRT Taoyuan Airport Line, Hau said that the Twin Towers project has faced multiple difficulties since it was first conceived.

As such, Hau stated that the project's investment and construction development will instead be handled by the Taipei City Government's Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS, 臺北市政府捷運工程局), with the total construction value estimated to be around NT$60 billion. The mayor also stated that he hopes for the project to be completed within five or six years under the administration of DORTS.

The decision was reportedly made partially as a result of the project's developer BES Construction Co. (BES, 中華工程) failing to provide the necessary documentation, fees and funds as requested by the Taipei City Government. BES had previously received the project after the project's forerunning bidder, Taipei Gateway International Development Co. Ltd. (TGID, 太極雙星), was found to be incapable of fulfilling the terms of the construction plan.

Previously, BES protested against 10 additional stipulations that were imposed by the Taipei City Government, claiming that the required sum to secure a financing guarantee was absurd, prompting BES to bring the case to the Taipei High Administrative Court (臺北高等行政法院). However, the court rejected the firm's complaint on Oct. 6. Following the ruling, BES openly stated that the company will continue to seek legal action.

DORTS Officials Explain Twin Tower Project

During an interview, DORTS Commissioner Tsai Hui-sheng (蔡輝昇) stated that construction will likely begin as soon as the project is deemed to have met the stipulations of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act.

DORTS officials also said that the buildings' foundations, which are the most difficult and most time consuming aspects of the construction project, have already been completed, meaning that the MRT Songshan Line could begin operation at the end of the year as planned.

The completion of the foundations will also enable DORTS to continue building the project without much difficulty.

Reportedly, NT$30 billion from DORTS' Land Development Fund has also been included into the project fund to serve as emergency financial support should the situation arise.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2014, 12:21 AM
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Race for Taipei mayor needs less mudslinging and more policy

Editorial 2014-10-19 09:04 (GMT+8)
Sean Lien, right, seeks support from vendors at a the Huaxi Street Night Market in Taipei, Oct. 15. (Photo/CNA)
Sean Lien, right, seeks support from vendors at a the Huaxi Street Night Market in Taipei, Oct. 15. (Photo/CNA)

In this year's mayoral and magistrate elections in Taiwan, voters have remained largely apathetic, especially those in Taipei, despite wave after wave of verbal exchanges between the two leading candidates in the mayoral race Ko Wen-je, running as an independent for the pan-green camp, and Sean Lien, the KMT candidate, as well as the fanfare staged by the media.

As the campaign enters the final stages, both camps in Taipei finally agreed on a televised debate, giving both parties a long overdue opportunity to return to discussion of their respective policy platforms.

What is most necessary is for the two candidates to put forth their policies on the municipal economy, which is critical for the well-being and employment prospects of Taipei residents.

Taiwan is under mounting pressure to pinpoint a niche industry for its development, at a time when its regional rivals, including Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, are progressing by leaps and bounds. Seoul, for example, which has attracted large numbers of tourists in recent years, is taking advantage of the craze for Korean TV dramas in the region. As a bastion for Chinese pop music and performing arts, Taipei has a strong edge in developing the cultural and entertainment industries.

Another challenge is how to overhaul the appearance and landscape of Taipei via the execution of urban renewal projects, which will not only refresh the image of the city but also create ample business opportunities and job opportunities.

Another major task is creating a hi-tech living environment, commensurate with the astronomical development of mobile computing, cloud-end services, big data, and the widespread use of social media, on top of the balanced development between the eastern and western parts of the city and construction of the projected twin-tower buildings near Taipei Main Station, which will function as a gateway for the city.

In line with Taiwan becoming an ageing society, foremost on the agenda of the new mayor should be the care of the city's expanding senior population, including assisting the development of related businesses, which can not only help local senior citizens lead a better life but can also give the local economy a shot in the arm on top of creating more jobs.

Due to the prevalence of mudslinging in the campaign up to now, most Taipei residents have overlooked the development plans outlined by both camps, such as that of Ko, who has proposed to develop a green city featuring zero growth in power consumption, on top of plans to foster the development of cultural startups, promoting the pop music industry and developing industries aimed at caring for seniors.

Sean Lien has also unveiled a kaleidoscope of development plans for Taipei, spanning music, medicine, tourism, hi-tech, cultural innovation, housing, senior care, agriculture, and transport, on top of accelerated development of western Taipei and childcare.

Both candidates so far have focused on why voters should not vote for their rival, rather than giving voters reasons to support them.

We hope that the upcoming televised debate will drive the campaign back on to a healthier track, so that citizens can select a new mayor based on policy who will lead Taipei on to a new track of development.


Ko Wen-je 柯文哲

Sean Lien 連勝文
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2014, 2:19 PM
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Very special interior decoration
Currently viewed from outside the building
not Different architectural style
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Old Posted Nov 7, 2014, 12:05 PM
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2014 ELECTIONS: Only city can finish Taipei Twin Towers, deputy mayor says

TOWERING TROUBLES:Ko Wen-je said the city lacks the funds and skilled personnel for the project, while one councilor said it was covering its mistakes

By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter

City-directed construction of the Taipei Twin Towers project is the only way to ensure the project’s completion, Taipei Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚) said yesterday.

Independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) earlier said the city’s construction plan was wasteful because the city government lacks the funds and skilled personnel necessary to successfully complete the project.

The Taipei Twin Towers project is one of the largest construction projects in the city’s history, consisting of two skyscrapers to be built over the Taipei station of the future Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport line. After a series of corruption scandals forced the project’s initial winning bidder to withdraw and the second bidder, BES Engineering Corp, was unable to meet new city conditions for the contract, the city last month announced that it would take over responsibility for the construction.

In response to Ko’s criticism, Chang said that city-directed construction would ensure that all profits from the project flow into city coffers, using the Chinese idiom: “Rich waters shouldn’t be allowed to flow into others’ fields” (肥水不落外人田).

“While previously the government was not able to build the project itself due to a lack of funds and experienced personnel, we’ve overcome all of these problems,” Chang said.

He said the city government’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems currently has between NT$20 billion and NT$30 billion (US$655 and US$982 million) available for the project, with further funds expected from loans and sub-contractors.

The department has also gained the necessary experience to build the towers as it constructed their foundations over the past several years, he said.

Asked whether the Taipei City Council would oppose the city’s plan, Chang said the city government would work hard to persuade city councilors.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇) has said that the city government’s decision was meant to cover up its lapses during the bidding process.

She said that a final decision about the project’s future cannot be made until previous bidder BES Engineering’s lawsuit against the city is concluded.

City government talk of profits from the project will only hurt its chances in the courts, she added.
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Old Posted Nov 20, 2014, 7:23 PM
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The election related news is note worthy for this project because KMT is in danger of losing the election for Taipei mayor, which may not bode well for the current mayor's plan to build this project with public money. The use of public funds to construct vanity projects is a interesting sub-theme in the current election.
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Old Posted Dec 22, 2014, 1:17 PM
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Old Posted Jan 25, 2015, 1:41 AM
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Mayor doubles down on Hon Hai standoff

CLEAN SWEEP:The capital’s new Clean Government Commission will take probes into its own hands, an official in the administration of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said

By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je speaks to reporters in the capital yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), saying he owes Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團) nothing, yesterday reiterated his rejection of the corporation’s demand that the municipal government provide documents showing that its subsidiary company won a bid to build an electronics shopping mall in the capital.

“During the election, I never took your money and I do not owe you anything,” Ko said, adding that the municipal government would handle affairs in accordance with its own principles.

On Monday, Hon Hai took out a front-page advertisement in six major Chinese-language newspapers that demanded that the local government, within 48 hours, make public all documents relating to its subsidiary’s bid for the Syntrend Creative Park (三創園區) project. The technology group said it would cease construction on the site until the municipal government affirmed the bid’s legality.

Ko yesterday reiterated that the Taipei City Government would handle the case at its own pace, referring all related documents to a new Clean Government Commission for investigation.

Ko also outlined the rules for the commission, set to be established this week ahead of his administration’s original March target date.

While the local government previously had a Clean Government Commission, the commission is being reorganized to allow greater public participation, Ko said.

While government officials previously held a majority of the seats on the commission, they make up just a third of the new 21-member commission.

Ko yesterday named eight commissioners he wants to appoint from outside the government, including an author, an economics professor, a civic activist and lawyers. He said the six remaining commissioners would be chosen in an open process in which city residents would be able to vote on the final choices.

Commission members will be charged with investigating controversies surrounding several development projects that were launched under the previous administration, including the Taipei Dome (台北大巨蛋), the Taipei New Horizon (臺北文創) complex, the MeHAS City (美河市) residential project and the Taipei Twin Towers (雙子星).

Taipei Department of Government Ethics Commissioner Liu Ming-wu (劉明武) said that the commissioners’ powers would be expanded to bring them to the “front line” of the investigations.

While previous commissioners relied on materials prepared by the department’s investigation unit, the new commissioners would have the power to requisition documents and conduct interviews themselves, Liu said.

Meanwhile, Ko said the capital has already arrived at a consensus on its negotiating position with Taipei Dome contractor Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設). Ko said Taipei would work to adjust the contract terms on 39 points that were flagged as questionable in 2009 by the Control Yuan.

Taipei Dome project executive secretary Hu Pei-lun (胡培倫) said the Control Yuan’s 39 points cover a number of adjustments to the original contract that were disadvantageous to the government, including reducing penalties for contract violations to a level that Ko called “ridiculous” over the weekend.

Farglory refused to respond to demands from the previous administration that the offending articles be revised, Hu said, adding that the contract changes require the agreement of both parties.
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2015, 12:52 PM
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Taipei calls for bids on six major city projects

By Abraham Gerber / Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government yesterday announced a call for bids for six major city development projects.

With notable sites including the former Taipei City Council building and a proposed Zhongshan Design Industry Park, the call for bids include surface rights leases as well as joint development, urban renewal and build-operate-transfer (BOT) projects.

Other sites include a National Taiwan University property on Shaoxing S Street (紹興南街), logistics facilities for the Neihu Technology Park, a development project for the Dingpu (頂埔) MRT Station and a bus transfer station in the north of the city.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮) said that under new city rules governing the bidding process, bids would be weighed based on their contribution to public benefit rather than on cost alone.

The city government itself would take responsibility for the permit application process to ensure that winners do not get “stuck” during the construction process, he said.

A number of banks have expressed interest in a city-hosted information session on the projects next week, Lin said, adding that even Farglory Group (遠雄集團) chairman Chao Teng-hsiung (趙藤雄) would be welcome as long as he abided by city procedures.

The city government is currently locked in conflict with Farglory over the Taipei Dome BOT project’s safety and contract terms.

Department of Finance Commissioner Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) said a major problem with the Dome and other controversial BOT projects was the inflexibility of site use royalties, adding that new rules linking royalties more closely to profits would put the city and corporations “in the same boat.”

Lin said that further calls for bids would be made every quarter in the future, with surface right leases for the Xinyi District Office land next to the Shilin Main Presidential Residence to be made in the near future.

He added that calls for bids to develop the Taipei Twin Towers site would be made next year.

Meanwhile, Lin said that the removal of Taipei Songshan Airport would “brook no delay,” adding that he had already arranged for a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on the matter after the Civil Aeronautics Administration requested a meeting on Thursday.

He said the city government was willing to cooperate with the central government on opening up central government land near Songshan airport for development under the principle that the airport would be removed.

Lin said the city government would next month establish a committee to study the possible removal of the airport and future development plans, with possible topics including adding an MRT line through the site, creating broad swathes of green space, relocating central government buildings to the site and removing restrictions on the height of surrounding buildings.
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Old Posted Aug 24, 2015, 7:35 PM
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Removing TSA from the middle of Downtown Taipei will be interesting from an urban renewal standpoint. It's been talked about for many years since TPE opened in the 1970s but nothing ever gets beyond talk.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2016, 3:39 PM
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Taipei Twin Towers bidding malpractice probe closed

By Sean Lin / Staff reporter

An investigation into possible malpractice by Taipei City Government officials in the bidding process of the construction of the Taipei Twin Towers has been closed after it failed to find substantial evidence of wrongdoing, while cases involving former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) administration that allegedly benefited Hon Hai Group and Fubon Group are under investigation by the Control Yuan, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Ko made the remarks during an administrative report on the so-called “five cases of malpractice” at the Taipei City Council, where he also talked about planned hikes in water prices and bus fares.

The Taipei Twin Towers case was closed after a probe by the city’s Clean Government Committee could not find any major negligence or illegality on the part of city officials, Ko said, adding that the city government would respect the verdict passed down by the Taipei District Court.

The court last year sentenced former Taipei city councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如), one of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) close aides, to a prison term of 10 years and deprivation of civil rights of five years over her acceptance of a NT$1 million (US$30,486) bribe from Taipei Gateway International Development Co and helping the firm secure the bid for the construction.

As to the Hau administration’s alleged benefiting of Hon Hai while setting the superficy rights when the corporation won the build-operate-transfer (BOT) bid to build the Syntrend Creative Park on land owned by the city, which the city government said would cost it financial losses over the life of the BOT contract, Ko said that the plan had been delivered to the Control Yuan for investigation.

The mayor said that Hon Hai had made changes to the floor plan of the main building in the complex, which would add about NT$2.7 million in annual royalty payments that Hon Hai is to pay the city government, and the increased revenue would be used to boost the development of the complex and the Bade (八德) commercial district where it is situated.

On the MeHAS housing complex, which is built on remaining plots of land seized from Taipei residents to build the Xindian Depot for operations of the mass rapid transit system’s Songshan-Xindian line, Ko said that the city had established a team to demand potential compensations from project owner Radium Life Tech Co, which reportedly total more than NT$22 billion.

More than 100 landowners had lodged a lawsuit against the city government, demanding that it compensate for the financial losses they suffered during the land expropriations, which was pronounced unconstitutional by the Council of Grand Justices last month.

On controversy surrounding the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, where the Eslite Group has started operations on floors in the Taipei New Horizon building which it leased from Fubon, Ko said that the city and Fubon last month signed a revised contract raising royalty payments to be paid by Eslite from 0.5 percent of the rent it pays Fubon to 0.5 percent of revenues generated from all facilities Eslite runs.

These facilities include a department store, a hotel and a venue for cultural and creative exhibitions and performances, the mayor said.

On ongoing negotiations between the city government and Farglory Group regarding the Taipei Dome project, Ko said that Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮) has been put in charge of negotiating contractual terms with the corporation, while Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) is responsible for negotiations over how the company is to resolve safety issues caused by its deviations from the construction plan.

Ko said that Farglory had committed infractions in 79 areas of the dome’s construction, for which it has submitted revised construction plans which are currently being reviewed.

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Old Posted Aug 21, 2016, 11:38 AM
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Taipei Main Station gets facelift on 125th birthday
The Taipei Main Station celebrated its 125th anniversary by unveiling a new facade, including a new roof and lighting system. The station, the main transport hub in the heart of the Taiwanese capital, is served by high-speed rail, metro and regular t
The Taipei Main Station celebrated its 125th anniversary by unveiling a new facade, including a new roof and lighting system. The station, the main transport hub in the heart of the Taiwanese capital, is served by high-speed rail, metro and regular train services.PHOTO: WEI HSINYEN
PUBLISHEDJUL 29, 2016, 5:00 AM SGT
Bright lights the icing on the cake for train station, which is a destination in itself
Jermyn ChowTaiwan Correspondent
The days of mopping up the wet lobby floor in Taipei Main Station are over, after it got a makeover as one of its 125th birthday presents.

In addition to a new leak-proof terracotta roof, the iconic building in the heart of Taipei boasts a new lighting system that casts the building in different colours every day and on special occasions.

The facelift is part of moves by the rail authorities to turn the station into a lifestyle and commercial hub and add more zing to the Zhongzheng district, after an ambitious plan to build a pair of skyscrapers in the area stalled.

The station, which is now served by high-speed rail, metro and regular train services, handles about 600,000 commuters and visitors each day, meaning it is still the transport hub for Taiwanese and tourists who travel within and out of the capital.

The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) estimates that footfall will hit 700,000 when the MRT linking Taoyuan Airport and Taipei city opens at the end of this year.

"Taipei Main Station will then become the first touch-point for many tourists who take the airport MRT... so we want to give them a good impression," said Taiwan Railways Administration's deputy director-general Chung Ching-da at a ceremony yesterday to mark the station's 125th anniversary.

Work to spruce up the station started in 2013. Its roof was retiled and its drainage pipes were replaced to stop water leaks in the lobby, which is about six storeys tall.

The station, which was first built in 1891 under the Qing rule, has come a long way. Besides being an important transport node, it has also become a popular hangout area for young Taiwanese and foreign workers. On weekends, many of them sit on the lobby floor and turn the area into a picnic ground.

Breeze, one of Taiwan's biggest department stores, added more buzz to the station when it opened restaurants and stores on the first two floors in 2007.

Mr Chung said the TRA will free up more commercial space when its offices move out of the station by 2021.

"We want to turn the station into another distinctive landmark, like the Taipei 101, that Taiwan people can be proud of," said Mr Chung, referring to the landmark skyscraper which, at 509.2m, is the world's eighth-tallest building.

In 2004, then President Ma Ying- jeou initiated a project to build two skyscrapers, dubbed Taipei Twin Towers, next to the Taipei Main Station to revitalise the area. The towers were to house hotels, retail outlets and offices.

But the showcase project hit a snag when a Malaysia-led consortium slated to build the development was disqualified after it failed to pay the municipal government a performance bond. The Taipei city government has not been able to get the project off the ground.

Still, commuters say they like the station's new vibes. "It's a lot brighter, modern and a comfortable place for us to meet up and chat," said undergraduate Eric Lee, 19, who is at the station every other day to meet friends or take the Taipei Metro.

Hong Konger Howard Cheung, who is on a week-long holiday in Taiwan, said: "I like that the station has a bit of the old and new architecture... it looks quite majestic, like the Grand Central Station in New York."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2016, with the headline 'Taipei Main Station gets facelift at 125'. Print Edition | Subscribe

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Old Posted Sep 17, 2016, 11:54 AM
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Lai Su-ju guilty verdict upheld by High Court

ONGOING BATTLE:The former Taipei City councilor said that she would defend her innocence with her life and she would next appeal to the Supreme Court

By Jason Pan / Staff reporter

Former Taipei city councilor Lai Su-ju poses for photographers in Taipei on Jan. 22.

Photo: Hsiang Cheng-chen, Taipei Times

The Taiwan High Court yesterday rejected an appeal by former Taipei City councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如) against her 2014 corruption conviction, but reduced her prison sentence to nine years in prison.

The Taipei District Court in 2014 found Lai guilty of corruption for seeking a NT$15 million (US$472,798 at current exchange rates) kickback from a consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development Co (TGID, 太極雙星) in return for ensuring that it won the tender to develop the proposed Taipei Twin Towers (台北雙子星大樓) project near the Taipei Railway Station in October 2012 with a NT$70 billion bid.

“Lai held an important government post, but chose to receive bribes, which damaged the public’s trust in government officials to carry out their duties in a fair and equitable manner,” the original indictment said. “Since Lai has consistently refused to admit that she violated the law, the court should mete out a heavy punishment in this case.”

The Taipei District Court sentenced Lai to 10 years in prison.

However, in its ruling, the High Court said that sentencing a government official to more than nine years in prison for a corruption conviction is considered a “heavy punishment,” so it had therefore decided to reduce her sentence to nine years.

Its decision can be appealed.

An attorney, Lai holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in law from the Chinese Culture University.

She was a close aide to former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and had been a leading KMT politician in Taipei, serving four terms as a city councilor.

Lai, who was a member of the KMT Central Standing Committee, also worked as the director for Ma’s presidential campaign office in 2012 and was a legal counsel for the Presidential Office during Ma’s tenure.

Due to Lai’s close political ties with Ma, the High Court verdict is believed to have tainted Ma. It also left corruption stigma and unanswered questions surrounding former KMT Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who was in office when Lai took the bribe.

Yesterday’s court statement by presiding judge Chou Ying-wen (周盈文) said that Lai had brought disgrace to all public officials.

She has shown no remorse, tried to cover up her tracks and sought justification for her actions, the statement said.

During her High Court trial, Lai denied receiving any bribes and said the money she had received was a “political donation.”

However, the High Court said judicial investigators had put wiretaps on Cheng Hung-dao (程宏道) and Jia Er-ching (賈二慶), two of the main figures behind the TGID bid, where they were heard discussing the payment of a bribe with Lai, the court statement said.

Lai yesterday said that she deeply regrets the ruling.

She said she would defend her innocence with her life and that after receiving the official court ruling she would appeal to the Supreme Court.

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