Thu, Mar 29, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Gangster footage shot by TVBS reporter

By Jimmy Chuang and Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Video footage televised by nearly all news channels on Monday featuring a gangster demonstrating an array of firearms and threatening to kill his estranged boss was discovered yesterday to have been fabricated by cable television station TVBS.

TVBS issued a statement last night that said it had fired Nantou reporter Shih Chen-kang (史鎮康), who filmed the video, and his superior, chief correspondent Chang Yu-kun (張裕坤).

In the video, Chou Cheng-pao (周政保), a member of the Celestial Way Gang, sat next to a table with a number of pistols and rifles.

In addition to threatening to shoot his former gangster boss, Chou said in the video that he was also behind three recent shooting incidents in the Taichung area.

In its statement, TVBS said an internal investigation had found that Shi had helped Chou film the video.

TVBS news director Pan Tzu-yin (潘祖蔭) and vice news director Sun Chia-juei (孫嘉蕊) were also given citations for their lack of oversight, the statement added.

According to the TVBS, Shi explained that Chou asked him for help on Saturday afternoon. He decided to make the video because he found it newsworthy, the station cited Shi as saying.

Shi asked Chang not to tell TVBS managers about how he got the footage, TVBS said.

Yang Ying-lan (楊英蘭), an official with the National Communications Commission (NCC), disagreed with TVBS' position that the two reporters were solely responsible for the incident.

"The footage has been broadcasted again and again," she said. "How can the management at the station get away with simply saying that it was just the reporters' fault?"

When asked if the incident will cause the station to lose its broadcast license, Yang said the penalty will ultimately be determined by the commission's members.

If the commission finds the Chou video to be a serious violation, the station will be asked to stop broadcasting for three days.

Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said last night that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was very upset upon hearing that the video had been filmed by Shi.

Taichung police summoned Shi for further interrogation.

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