Wed, Dec 26, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Chu gives apology for having `erred'

COMING FORWARD The former politician at the center of a scandal over a sex video said yesterday she was sorry for `keeping bad company' and asked prosecutors to punish those who made the VCD

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH STAFF WRITER

Chu Mei-feng faces reporters yesterday in her first press conference since the sex VCD scandal broke.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Bowing three times before reporters, 36-year-old Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) apologized yesterday more than a week after a VCD that allegedly showed her having a sexual encounter with a married man was distributed by a weekly tabloid-style magazine.

The former director of the Hsinchu Cultural Affairs Bureau spoke in public for the first time yesterday since the scandal erupted, 12 hours after the key suspect in the secret taping was summoned for questioning, local Chinese-language media reported.

Accompanied by her lawyer Chung Yung-sheng (鍾永盛) and her friend, New Party Taipei City Councilor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), Chu told reporters yesterday she was deeply sorry for the incident.

"I kept bad company and erred. I feel deeply ashamed for causing such an uproar in society," Chu said before bowing to reporters, who mobbed her at the entrance of her former residence.

The "bad company" she referred to is believed to be her former "spiritual growth" instructor Kuo Yu-ling (郭玉鈴), also known as Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠纓).

Chu had previously attended classes taught by Kuo at a "religious healing" organization called Avatar.

"The statements Kuo made to prosecutors and the media are at odds with the truth. ... Now that the investigation has been conducted, I will provide only prosecutors with details about the case," Chu said.

"I hope that after the truth is discovered, the judges will seek heavy penalties [for those involved]."

After reading her statement, Chu collapsed, crying.

She was rushed to a hospital for treatment.

Kuo has emerged as a key figure in the controversy as investigators try to determine who was behind the taping of the video, which was shot with a pinhole camera.

Prosecutors for the first time questioned Kuo early yesterday morning. After a four-hour interrogation, Kuo was released around 4am.

According to local Chinese-language media, Kuo told prosecutors that Chu had requested that a hidden camera be installed in her room in order to protect her personal safety. But Kuo said she did not know the location of the pinhole camera.

Spokesman for the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office Chen Hung-ta (陳宏達), refused to confirm Kuo's statements.

Chen said the case was a criminal one, and that "Kuo has been officially listed as a defendant in this case." Prosecutors are unable to publicly comment on their investigation, Chen said.

"As for former Hsinchu City Mayor Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅), he is not on the suspect list," Chen said. "But we will also summon him for further questioning when necessary."

It has been speculated that Tsai, Chu's former boyfriend, could have been involved in the taping because he has a key to Chu's apartment.

Prosecutors said that because Chu's and Kuo's testimonies differed in many aspects, they will summon the two again for further questioning.

On Monday, prosecutors led a task force to examine Chu's residence in a search for more clues. The preliminary investigation found that the VCD must have been shot from inside a TV cupboard opposite Chu's bed in her bedroom.

A police search with an infrared detector failed to locate a camera inside the room. Police took fingerprints from the bedroom for further investigation.

Yesterday afternoon, Taipei prosecutors questioned employees at a repair shop where Chu had taken the TV cupboard in her bedroom to be repaired.

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