Ever since Xiang Xin (向心), executive director of Hong Kong-based China Innovation Investment, and his wife, acting director Kung Ching (龔青), were singled out by self-confessed Chinese spy William Wang Liqiang (王立強), who alleged that they are also Chinese spies, and barred from leaving Taiwan by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, hints and clues exposed by the parties involved have been mounting, and the case is becoming ever more intriguing.
China, in particular, keeps changing its story, attracting attention and raising more suspicions.
Following the Shanghai Public Security Bureau’s announcement that Wang is a convicted criminal with a history of fraud, the Global Times — the international version of the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece — reported on its Weixin account that Xiang is a controversial figure who has been involved in many civil lawsuits and fundraising scams.
Previously, the Global Times released fuzzy footage of a trial, meant to serve as concrete evidence of Wang being a convicted fraudster, but this only resulted in online ridicule, as the person in the footage bore little resemblance to Wang.
The paper then took it upon itself to “disclose” Xiang’s “real background.” Its intention was self-evident.
Perhaps the order was given too hurriedly for the state-run tabloid to concoct the story in a more meticulous manner.
The report said that Xiang is an “ordinary businessman,” and then went on to publish records of him dating from 2013 to last year.
There cannot be many people in China whose background an official rag such as the Global Times would give such expansive print real estate to.
Meanwhile, China Innovation Investment on Nov. 8 secretly shut down four of its subsidiaries in Hong Kong, a few days after Wang had given sworn testimony to Australian intelligence officials.
The plot thickens.
Xiang and Kung, who are now forced to stay in Taiwan, usually stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei when they visit the nation.
According to prosecutors, they were found to own two units in the Kingdom of Global View apartment complex in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) and were purchasing another property in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口), making people wonder what exactly they were planning.
A wily hare has three burrows, as the Chinese saying goes, and it just so happens that sources familiar with intelligence work and practices say that espionage agents often have different residences to ensure a mission’s success.
If the Grand Hyatt Taipei is where the couple normally stay, then the luxurious apartment in Xinyi could be their office, where they would conduct business and receive guests.
The hidden and inconspicuous property in Linkou could be a safe house, where they could hide or escape to if something happened.
After all, Linkou boasts certain geographical advantages: convenient access to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the coast, from where one could depart for safer shores, for example.
Whether Xiang and his wife had such intentions remains to be revealed by prosecutors and investigators, but certain parts of their activity — to many people’s surprise — somehow conform to the conventional practice of secret agents.
The case deserves officers’ utmost attention, so that they can uncover the facts for the public.
Tzou Jiing-wen is the editor-in-chief of the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper).
Translated by Chang Ho-ming
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