President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday declined to comment when asked whether a visit in 2013 by his former aide Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) to the Wei (魏) family, which owns the scandal-ridden Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團), had been on his behalf.
Ma did not reply to reporters’ questions during a visit to Advantech Corp (研華科技) in Greater Taoyuan yesterday.
Media personality Clara Chou (周玉蔻) made the latest allegation to substantiate what she said was an inappropriate relationship between Ma and Ting Hsin on a TV program, broadcast at 10pm on Friday, on which Lo was also a guest.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
Chou played a tape of Lo speaking to members of the Wei family at their home, Wei Cheng-mei Hall (魏成美堂), in Changhua County during celebrations for the 2013 Lunar New Year, in which Lo said he was there to give Ma’s regards to the family, as Ma was busy with official engagements.
Ma ordered Lo to pay the Wei family a vist, Chou said, adding that her previous allegation that Ma had served as the food conglomerate’s “guardian angel,” with Lo acting as his proxy to handle the “unusual” relationship between Ma and Ting Hsin, were “proven to be true by the tape.”
Lo did not dispute the visit he made at the invitation of the Wei family, but said that Ma had no prior knowledge of the visit and that he did not brief Ma about the visit afterward, adding that the president had nothing to do with the visit.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Lo said that as he was then deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office, it was natural for him to say that he acted on behalf of Ma.
“You might as well take what I said at that time as a lie, a conventional greeting, or you can just say that I, Lo Chih-chiang, lied. The truth is that I made the meaningless remark just to make everyone happy,” Lo said.
During the TV program, Chou also said that Lo was the source of a report carried by the Chinese-language Next Magazine, which also cast into doubt the relationship between Ma and Ting Hsin, and that the magazine gave Lo NT$1 million (US$31,300) in return for information.
That issue of Next Magazine was published in October last year — when Ting Hsin was embroiled in an adulterated cooking oil scandal, the latest in a series of food safety scares involving its affiliated companies — in which it reported that Ma assisted the Wei family in securing cross-strait trade of agricultural products.
Lo flatly denied the allegation, calling it “baseless hearsay.”
Asked for comment yesterday, Next Magazine publisher Pei Wei (裴偉) also dismissed the allegation, saying it was simply “out of the question.”
Earlier this week, Lo said he had interacted with members of the Wei family four times in 2013: the Lunar New Year visit; a meeting at the Presidential Office when some members of the Wei family visited Ma; and two other occasions where he was invited to dine with Ting Hsin chairman Wei Ying-chiao (魏應交).
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
CAUTION: Taiwan had zero cases of death from food poisoning for six years until last year, when two people died after eating wildlife, an FDA official said The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday urged the public not to eat wildlife or unidentified wild plants, as they could be fatal, with nearly 7,000 people affected by food poisoning last year, including two deaths due to wildlife consumption. The number of food poisoning incidents increased by nearly 50 percent last year, from 398 cases involving 4,616 people in the previous year to 503 cases involving 6,944 people, FDA data showed. That figure was the second-highest in history, the FDA said, adding that the highest number was recorded in 1997, with 7,235 people. Among the 503 cases, 87 were food poisoning clusters