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Indictment of Son-In-Law Increases Pressure on Taiwan President

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's son-in-law has been indicted on charges of insider trading. The current crisis is just one of several scandals battering the reputation of Taiwan's embattled president.

Taiwan prosecutors asked for an eight-year jail term for Chao Chien-min for using inside information to profit from the purchase of shares in a state-owned property company.

Chao, the son-in-law of President Chen Shui-bian, was first detained in May on suspicion of insider trading, and is currently in custody. Chao's father was also named in the indictment.

The indictment is the latest scandal in recent weeks to rock the administration. Mr. Chen's wife, Wu Shu-chen, was accused last month of profiting from department store vouchers given to her by people trying to curry favor with her husband's administration.

Last week, Chen Che-nan, former advisor to the president, was indicted on separate insider trading charges.

Politics Professor Emile Sheng, of Soochow University in Taipei, says the indictment will add to the woes the president is already facing.

"This indictment itself is not going to really make or break the first family," he commented. "But it is really going to add to the distrust of the general public to the first family."

Sheng says the mounting scandals have all but crippled the Chen administration.

"He has officially become a lame duck. He can no longer really pursue his own political agenda," he continued. "I think the best he can hope for is that he can remain in office peacefully in the next two years, which is itself a challenge for him at this moment."

Last month, Taiwan's main opposition party failed in an effort to force a national referendum calling for President Chen's removal.