Taipei prosecutors yesterday put Ching Chi-ju (金紀玖), one of the brokers in the high-profile Papua New Guinea diplomacy scandal, on the wanted list and said he would remain on the list for 30 years.
“The suspect has repeatedly failed to show up for questioning,” Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office spokesman Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村) said yesterday. “For this, we are issuing a warrant for the arrest of Ching Chi-ju and the effectiveness of the warrant will last 30 years.”
Ching was last seen in the US after allegedly making off with US$30 million, which was wired to a joint bank account set up for him and his associate, Wu Shih-tsai (吳思材), in Singapore in September 2006 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The money was supposed to be used in the establishment of diplomatic relations with Papua New Guinea.
The National Police Agency said it was informed by intelligence sources that Ching first fled to China, before going to Canada earlier this month. He was found on the US West Coast last week, they said.
Lin said the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office had sought help from the US for Ching’s apprehension and questioning.
Meanwhile, MOFA said yesterday that two officials would be posted to the Philippines and Malaysia as planned, despite their alleged involvement in the scandal.
Donald Lee (李傳通), former director-general of the Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Chang Chiang-sheng (張強生), a close aide of former MOFA minister James Huang (黃志芳), will assume their posts as representative to the Philippines and deputy representative to Malaysia, respectively, as planned, MOFA spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) said.
Their transfers, although announced months ago, are especially sensitive as both Lee and Chang have been questioned by prosecutors about the diplomacy scandal.
In response to whether the postings should be delayed at such a sensitive time, Yeh said: “They will leave to assume their posts as planned, as they are not listed as defendants, and prosecutors have not objected to their deployment. They can fly back to assist with the investigation if needed. That will not be a problem.”