Taiwan envoy Antonio Chiang to take up Singapore posting after being spared from prosecution over drink driving: Sources

Taiwan’s new representative to Singapore, Mr Antonio Chiang speaking to reporters on August 4.
Taiwan’s new representative to Singapore, Mr Antonio Chiang speaking to reporters on August 4. PHOTO: CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/FACEBOOK

Taiwan's new envoy to Singapore, Mr Antonio Chiang, has been spared from being taken to court for a drink driving offence that sparked a public outcry and left his posting to the Republic in doubt.

Sources told The Straits Times on Monday (Aug 8) that Mr Chiang, who cancelled plans to relocate to Singapore last weekend, will now arrive here next week at the earliest.

Taipei prosecutors decided to defer prosecuting Mr Chiang, but ordered him to pay a fine of NT$60,000 (S$2,560), United Daily News reported on Monday.

Under Taiwan law, deferred prosecution means the offender will not be subjected to actual prosecution if he does not re-offend within a stipulated period. In Mr Chiang's case, it's one year.

Presidential spokesman Alex Huang, who had said drink driving “is wrong and sets a bad example for society” after the scandal broke, said he had "no further comment" on Monday when interviewed by UDN.

 
 

Mr Chiang, 72, was pulled over by police for a spot check in Taipei last Tuesday night, just hours after he was sworn into his new job by President Tsai Ing-wen.

A breathalyser test showed his breath alcohol content was 0.27mg per litre.

In Taiwan, drivers caught with 0.25mg per litre or 0.05 per cent of blood alcohol content can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to NT$200,000.

He was referred to the Taipei district prosecutors' office on charges of endangering public safety.

Explaining its decision not to press charges, the Taipei district prosecutors' office said Mr Chiang had not caused any accident and had also demonstrated remorse, Central News Agency reported.

It also said that it had taken the standard six working days to process the case, stressing that the envoy was not given preferential treatment due to his status.

Mr Chiang, a veteran journalist and deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council from 2000-2004, has come under pressure from opposition politicians and civic groups to resign over the incident.


Correction note: An earlier version of the story said the breathalyser test showed his blood alcohol content was 0.27mg per litre. It should be his breath alcohol content. We are sorry for the error.