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Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 2 News List

`Magic healer' appears before prosecutors again

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

Zhang Ying (張穎), the controversial magic healer who claims to have the ability to "snatch medicine pills out of thin air (隔空抓藥)," appeared at the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office for questioning yesterday morning.

Summoned before prosecutors for the first time since she was barred from leaving the country, Zhang arrived in Taipei from Kaohsiung and was taken by police through a secret passage leading to an interrogation room.

One of Zhang's friends, named Hsieh (), was also summoned as a witness. Hsieh is understood to have acted as a liaison between Zhang and her "patients" and to have discussed matters of payment with patients in telephone conversations.

Prosecutors are currently trying to decide if Zhang can be indicted for practicing medicine without a license. They have questioned several of her patients and recently obtained samples of the pills she allegedly conjured up. The pills are now at a laboratory where they are being tested to determine their precise contents.

If convicted, Zhang could face three years in prison and a NT$150,000 fine.

In an earlier voluntary meeting with prosecutors, Zhang provided certificates of membership in qi gong associations based in the US and China. In China, she is certified as a "person with miraculous power." However, she was unable to show a medical license from any country.

Other incriminating evidence includes a videotape of Zhang at work healing others. It reveals that she received quite a number of patients at her mother-in-law's home on Wenchou street. Furthermore, it shows that she practiced her skill publicly or semi-publicly.

Zhang had previously claimed that the medicines she "snatched" weren't provided for consumption by others and that she merely offered them as a way of "sealing friendships." However, prosecutors have remained very sceptical of this explanation.

Zhang, who insisted on her innocence, said she would be "peaceful at heart" if asked by prosecutors to perform her well-known act in court.

She was not asked to do so yesterday.

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