A Taiwanese diplomat was indicted, Tuesday, for allegedly taking bribes from visa applicants during his tenure at the island's representative office in Hanoi.
Taiwan’s leading English-language newspaper The China Post said Hsiao Yu-wen, a former secretary at the office, allegedly conspired with Tsao Pao-lin, the secretary-general of a Taiwanese business association in Vietnam, to demand kickbacks from Vietnamese applying for Taiwanese student visas.
The paper reported that the government indicted Tsao for forgery and alleged that he convinced students to apply for visas at his office where he demanded a US$4,000 kickback to guarantee approval.
Hsiao later approved all applications without conducting interviews, a critical part of the application process, the indictment stated.
Prosecutors found Hsiao in possession of 83 luxury bags worth $56,680 in total and a bank account containing $2.8 million.
The indictment said Hsiao’s government salary could hardly account for his fortune and noted that he refused to disclose where they came from.
As a result, Hsiao was also indicted for the crime of possessing property of unknown origins.
Hsiao told reporters that he doesn't have “that many bags,” according to The China Post.
The story broke last May, after sources were quoted by Taiwanese newspapers accusing Hsiao of taking bribes from Vietnamese nationals who wanted to marry Taiwanese or study in Taiwan.
Huang Chih-peng, Taiwan’s top envoy to Vietnam, reportedly discovered the scam and forced Hsiao to leave his post and return to Taiwan, where investigators from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs found he'd handled far more visa applications than his colleagues.