Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday offered his resignation after prosecutors decided not to indict former deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) on charges of leaking confidential information to China, despite Wang’s testimony that he had done so.
The Taipei Prosecutors’ Office announced earlier in the day that it had closed the case because there was not enough evidence to support the allegations.
“After a thorough investigation over the past five months, there was insufficient evidence to indicate Chang Hsien-yao had revealed to the Chinese government our government’s bargaining priorities and bottom-line conditions [on negotiations],” the office said in a statement
The information allegedly leaked consisted of normal documents and information on visitors’ itineraries and could not be construed as secret information, the office said.
Although Wang had testified that he was told by Taiwanese businesspeople in China that “Chang Hsien-yao was close to Chinese officials and that problems could occur in the future,” prosecutors said they could not indict Chang Hsien-yao or others simply on “hearsay.”
Chang Hsien-yao has denied allegations that he used his secretary Chang Su-ling (張素玲) and assistant Chen Hung-yi (陳宏義), who also worked for the E-United Group (義聯集團), to make telephone calls and send text messages and e-mails to provide information to Beijing between June 2012 and February last year.
Wang called a news conference at 12:30pm to voice his disapproval of the prosecutors’ decision. Repeatedly saying that he found the rationale for not indicting Chang Hsien-yao “unacceptable,” Wang said Chang had engaged in the “inappropriate divulging of information.”
The prosecutors’ statement showed that they had evidence with regard to his accusation, Wang said, without elaborating.
“Chang Hsien-yao might have acted in a way that shielded him from legal liability, but as a prominent political appointee responsible for handling cross-strait issues, what he did overstepped the bounds of propriety,” Wang said.
Pressed by reporters, Wang refused to say what information had allegedly been leaked and to whom.
He only said Chang Hsien-yao passed classified documents to China via a Taiwanese businessperson who has investments in China before the two sides were about to start negotiations on that issue. He said the businessperson had told him about the handovers in the first half of last year, but that he did not take the information seriously because of a lack of evidence.
It was not until late July last year that he mentioned the allegations to then-National Security Council secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), who informed him days later that the national security agencies had corroborated the information, Wang said.
Wang said he disagreed with the prosecutors’ view that Chang Hsien-yao had not intended to reveal confidential information when he asked his driver, surnamed Lee (李), Chen and Chang Su-ling to keep the information he gave them in both paper and electronic forms.
“The Mainland Affairs Council has determined that the information was classified, but the prosecutors said it was not. Could it be that we might just as well give such information to China in the future? It does not make any sense that prosecutors did not consider divulging state secrets to people in the private sector to be illegal,” Wang said.