(AFP) – Nov 16, 2008
TAIPEI (AFP) — Taiwan's detained former president Chen Shui-bian was rushed to hospital on Sunday, a doctor said, days after he went on hunger strike to protest his arrest on graft allegations.
Chen arrived at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Panchiao city, 10 minutes after his ambulance left the Tucheng detention centre outside Taipei, the private TVBS news network said.
Doctor Tsai Kuang-chao of the hospital told reporters: "We found he was apparently dehydrated... therefore, we decided to give him an intravenous drip.
"His heart beat was slightly faster than normal, otherwise, his overall condition is okay."
The doctor said since the hospital had not yet completed a detailed examination he could not say whether Chen would stay overnight or be discharged.
Television footage showed dozens of Chen's supporters chanting "Go! Go! Ah-Bian!" outside the hospital, referring to the former leader by his nickname.
Chen's lawyer had said the former president had only drunk water since entering the detention centre early Wednesday after going on hunger strike in protest against his arrest and detention, which he claims are politically motivated.
Parliamentarian Kao Chih-peng of the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which Chen once led, said: "I'm worried about the former president's health."
The hunger strike "is the former president's silent protest to the political persecution by the Kuomintang government," Kao told AFP.
Chen, the first former Taiwanese leader to be arrested, faces allegations of embezzling around 15 million Taiwan dollars (about 450,000 US dollars) while in office, but has yet to be formally charged.
He can be held for up to four months before prosecutors have to charge him.
The DPP parliamentarian also criticised prosecutors' moves last week to detain Chen.
"It indicates that prosecutors had jumped to a conclusion before they finished their investigation," Kao said.
"Taiwan's legal system needs to be overhauled."
Chen, whose pro-independence rhetoric during his eight years in office irked Beijing, has repeatedly accused the island's China-friendly Kuomintang government of being behind allegations of embezzlement, money laundering, taking bribes and forgery.
His office is planning to stage a mass rally in a Taipei park on November 22 in a show of support.
Chen's arrest and detention is the latest development in a long-running corruption probe against the former leader, who has admitted submitting falsified expense forms while in office but said the money was used for "secret diplomatic missions" and not for his personal benefit.
Other members of his family have also been implicated in alleged corruption, among them Chen's son-in-law, who last week had his seven-year jail term and a fine of 30 million Taiwan dollars for insider trading upheld by Taiwan's High Court.
In a separate money laundering case, prosecutors have alleged that 21 million US dollars was sent to Swiss bank accounts belonging to Chen's daughter-in-law in 2007. The funds have since been frozen.
Chen has admitted his wife wired 20 million US dollars abroad from past campaign funds but has denied laundering money.
Chen said last week that he was being victimised by the Kuomintang, which succeeded him after eight years in office, because he was the "biggest stone" blocking the island's reunification with the mainland.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to invade if it moves towards independence.
Since taking office, Chen's successor President Ma Ying-jeou, has worked quickly to improve ties with China following eight years of tension.
Copyright © 2014 AFP. All rights reserved. More »