Wed, Jan 10, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Annette Lu asks public to trust her

ONGOING SCANDALA technical expert said yesterday that it is theoretically possible to erase telephone records, as `The Journalist' has claimed, but that this could only be accomplished with the greatest difficulty

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice President Annette Lu's (呂秀蓮) spokeswoman, Tsai Ming-hwa (蔡明華), yesterday appealed to the public to believe Lu's side of the story in the vice president's dispute with The Journalist (新新聞) magazine.

"Don't disbelieve Lu just because she is old and ugly. After all, even the Hunchback of the Notre Dame had a kind heart," Tsai said yesterday. She also urged the public not to believe Yang Chao (楊照), The Journalist's editor-in-chief, just because he is a handsome, media savvy Harvard graduate.

Tsai also expressed her doubts about the magazine's accusation yesterday that Lu had erased all records of Yang's incoming telephone calls.

"Taiwan Cellular Corporation (TCC, 台灣大哥大) [Yang's mobile telephone company] is a big firm with employees of all sorts of political persuasions. Is it possible for Lu to control a big firm like that?" Tsai asked.

A technical expert, surnamed Chen, told the Taipei Times yesterday that it was technically feasible to erase part of Yang's telephone records.

He believed, however, that the original records still remained on computer, which could only be erased with the greatest difficulty.

According to Chen, once telephone calls are made, the records would be maintained in the computer for a certain period of time, but that if the information were downloaded before a hard copy were printed, it could easily be modified or erased.

"[If the call was actually made,] Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) definitely has the record in its computers," Chen said.

Chen, however, expressed doubt that Chunghwa Telecom, a government-run organization, would side with the magazine.

Chen, moreover, said that there should have been a tape of telephone conversations between Lu and Yang since all government officials' telephones have been wired by the National Security Bureau (國安局) -- a project in operation for years with an annual budget of NT$10 billion to NT$20 billion.

The Journalist, therefore, yesterday asked the court to preserve all of Yang's incoming and outgoing telephone records on Nov. 3 in the computer -- a request that has been granted by the officiating judge, Lai Yang-hua (賴泱樺).

Lu, on the other hand, protested her innocence yesterday.

"[The magazine,] which asks me to confess about something I've never done or said, abuses the freedom of the press. Since they have admitted they don't have the tape, they should apologize," Lu said at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Yang said that he would be willing to submit to a lie detector test to prove his allegations that he did receive a call from the vice president.

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