Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Ex-CNA reporter suspected of spying

CLOAK AND DAGGER:Kuo Mei-lan was detained along with a Taiwanese businessman after allegedly soliciting information from a Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau official

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A former Central News Agency (CNA) reporter was detained yesterday on suspicion of violating the National Security Act (國家安全法) and taken to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning.

The prosecutors’ office said it received a report from a Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau division chief it did not name saying that Kuo Mei-lan (郭玫蘭), who had been covering cross-strait affairs, had attempted to persuade him to sell information to China after returning to Taiwan in 2007.

“I was invited to a cafe,” the division chief said, adding that Kuo told him he would be paid to provide information on certain topics.

“I turned down the offer and reported to my superiors immediately,” the division chief said, adding that Kuo had continued to try to persuade him through multiple text messages.

Kuo and a Taiwanese businessman surnamed Chou (周) with whom she was in contact and who prosecutors suspected had introduced Kuo to Chinese intelligence officers were detained because Kuo was planning to leave Taiwan for China, and Chou was in Taiwan for the Lunar New Year holidays, prosecutors said.

Kuo quit her job at CNA eight years ago and had been starting her own media business in China, prosecutors said, adding that though there were no abnormalities in her accounts, they suspected that she was contacted during this time by Chinese intelligence officers.

If convicted of violating the National Security Act, Kuo could face up to five years in prison and a fine of NT$1 million (US$32,970).

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the incident showed that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) so-called diplomatic detente was a sham.

China has never relented in its enmity toward Taiwan, and it has even now continued to encroach on Taiwan through the media, diplomacy, politics and military, Lin said.

The Ma administration should not seek to mislead Taiwanese and cause them to lose sight of who is our enemy, Lin said, adding that the DPP would keep a close eye on the Ma administration in this regard.

Meanwhile, CNA yesterday said that Kuo was a former employee and it could not take any responsibility for her actions after she had finished working for it.

Some of Kuo’s former colleagues said she had not seemed too bright, and if the reports were true, then she knew how to conceal her activities very well.

However, others said that there had been rumors that Kuo was trafficking information.

Additional reporting by Lin Chun-hung, Chao Ching-yu, and Chen Ching-min

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