Thu, Apr 12, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Liu case raises national security fear

POTENTIAL LEAK:The Control Yuan said diplomat Jacqueline Liu’s hiring of a Chinese woman to work in her home violated foreign ministry rules and raised security fears

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

In a surprise twist to the investigation of the foreign labor fraud case involving senior diplomat Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍), the Control Yuan found that she had hired a Chinese woman as a housekeeper in a move that “raised national security concerns.”

The Control Yuan on Tuesday impeached the former director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, Missouri, as it completed its probe into her case.

Liu pleaded guilty in the US to US federal charges of mistreating two Philippine housekeepers, in exchange for being deported back to Taiwan.

The government watchdog found that a Chinese woman, Xie Dengfeng (謝登鳳), worked in Liu’s official residence for about two months between September and November last year after Liu’s second Philippine housekeeper ran away.

During that time Xie lived in the residence and was able to connect her personal computer to the router of Liu’s security telephone line.

Liu was charged with violating the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ rules issued on May 19, 1999, that prohibit its overseas missions from employing Chinese nationals.

The Control Yuan accused Liu of malfeasance, saying she had deliberately concealed Xie’s identity from the ministry because Xie, who is married to a US Vietnam War veteran surnamed Alexander, was identified to the ministry and Liu’s subordinates at TECO as Sharon Alexander, the statement said.

According to the impeachment statement, Liu defended her actions during questioning by Control Yuan members by saying that she did not know about the rules forbidding the hiring of Chinese for TECO jobs and she did not find it inappropriate because “there are many ministry staffers who have married Chinese women.”

The hiring of Xie and Liu’s failure to conduct an adequate pre-employment screening into her background raised serious concerns over possible leaks of national security information, which added up to a “dereliction of duty,” the Control Yuan statement said.

Liu was deported to Taiwan on Feb. 15.

She returned to work at the foreign ministry with the title of “director-general on home assignment,” but she has been suspended since then for the duration of the investigation.

In a statement issued after her return to Taiwan, Liu apologized for tarnishing the government’s and the ministry’s image, but denied allegations she had mistreated her Filipina housekeepers, even though the plea agreement she reached in the US required her to pay US$80,044 in restitution to the two women, who had only received US$590 per month for working 16 to 18-hour days, six-and-a-half days a week.

Control Yuan members Louis Chao (趙榮耀), Ger Yeong-kuang (葛永光) and Liu Yuh-san’s (劉玉山) investigation supported the mistreatment accusation made by US prosecutors in a FBI affidavit.

The Control Yuan members found Liu hired her second Filipina housekeeper via the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines under a contract that promised to pay her US$1,240 a month for a five-day, eight-hours-per-day work week, which the housekeeper used to apply for a US work visa from the US embassy in Manila.

Liu then had the housekeeper sign a letter saying that she was willing to have US$790 deducted from her salary to cover the cost of room and board, healthcare and insurance and stipulating that the letter was part of the contract signed earlier, which did not conform to US laws, the Control Yuan said.

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