Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Chinese executives barred from leaving

‘MIDDLEMAN’:Self-proclaimed Chinese spy William Wang Liqiang identified the couple as intelligence operatives, saying that he helped them conduct operations

By Huang Chieh, Chien Li-chung and Dennis Xie  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung, right, talks to reporters in Hualien County yesterday after the government announced its intention to bar China Innovation Investment Ltd executive director Xiang Xin and his wife, acting director Kung Ching, from leaving Taiwan.

Photo: Wang Chun-chi, Taipei Times

Two executives of a Chinese company based in Hong Kong who have allegedly tried to influence Taiwanese elections were yesterday barred from leaving the nation following their detention at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday.

China Innovation Investment Ltd (中國創新投資) executive director Xiang Xin (向心) and his wife, acting director Kung Ching (龔青), were detained at the airport ahead of a flight to Hong Kong on suspicions that they breached the National Security Act (國家安全法).

Self-proclaimed Chinese spy William Wang Liqiang (王立強) on Saturday told Australian media that China Innovation Investment was a shell company “whose founding mission was to infiltrate Hong Kong, but was later tasked with influencing elections in Taiwan.”

Following Wang’s allegations, Taiwanese authorities on Thursday last week found that Xiang and Kung entered Taiwan on their Hong Kong passports, with a return flight scheduled for Sunday.

They were stopped for questioning at the airport before being referred to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Sunday night.

The office yesterday confirmed that the Xiang and Kung had been released, but have been barred from leaving the nation pending further investigation.

Sources said that during questioning, the couple’s statements corresponded with a statement released by their firm on Monday — that they have no knowledge of Wang’s allegations and that he was never an employee of the company.

Wang had said that Xiang is really an intelligence officer with direct communication channels to the office of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

Xiang has helped Beijing establish top intelligence assets and conduct espionage operations in Taiwan and Hong Kong, he said.

Wang said that he in 2014 started working at China Innovation Investment as Kung’s painting instructor and later became a “middleman” for intelligence operations.

Sources said that Xiang and Kung told authorities that over the past few years they have been making monthly visits to Taiwan, with each stay lasting three to four days.

They reportedly said that Xiang is interested in the local real-estate market, while Kung is a fan of aesthetic medicine in Taiwan, which they both cited as the reason for their latest visit.

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