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Sun, Dec 23, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Taipei prosecutors focus on instructor in sex case

CRIMINAL PROBE A tangled web of intrigue is being revealed as investigators disclose details of the VCD case, including hints that friends of Chu Mei-feng are involved

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Tapei prosecutors' task force investigating the release of a VCD allegedly showing a former city councillor having sex has deemed it a criminal case.

"We decided this was a criminal case and we will invite investigators from the Bureau of Investigation to join us beginning next week," said Lin Jinn-tsun (林錦村), chief prosecutor with the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office (台北地檢署).

The VCD, released with the latest edition of Scoop Weekly (獨家報導), purportedly shows a sexual encounter between former New Party Taipei city councilor Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) and her married lover Tseng Chung-ming (曾仲銘).

According to investigators, an anonymous tip received by the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office alleged that the person who shot the bedroom scene with a pinhole camera is a close female friend of Chu, surnamed Kuo (郭).

A twisted tale

Sources say that Kuo is an instructor at a spiritual growth organization, Avatar, and that Kuo was teacher for a class that Chu enrolled in there.

"Prosecutor Lu Hsiao-yuan (盧筱筠) will conduct an investigation of Kuo and will interview her if necessary," Lin said.

Prosecutors suspect the student and teacher may have been involved in a romantic or financial dispute, and will summon Kuo for questioning to clarify her role.

But when Hsinchu City Mayor Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅), previously Chu's boyfriend, was informed that Kuo might be a suspect in the case, he panned the rumor, saying that he believed Kuo to be incapable of such an act.

His statement, however, appears to be at odds with statements made earlier by Chu, who claimed several days ago that besides herself, only Tsai and Kuo have keys to her apartment, where the video was secretly taped.

Further, Chu reported to the police that she had received a number of threatening messages on her mobile phone before the Scoop Weekly issue and accompanying VCD went on sale. Police later discovered that these phone calls were made from a location near Tsai's residence.

The police are now seeking to clarify the relationship between Tsai, Kuo and Chu.

In related news, investigations by police and media outlets have reportedly prompted several of those involved in the case to seek protection from gangsters, an unnamed police source revealed yesterday morning.

The source said, however, that their requests have been turned down.

Further, the officer said, some people involved in the case have contradicted themselves in public statements and that investigators are confident that a breakthrough in the case will be made over the next few days.

Avatar, where Kuo is an instructor, has been in existence for 20 years and was introduced to Taiwan from the US around four years ago.

"The Avatar course is a series of experiential exercises that enables you to rediscover yourself and align your consciousness with what you want to achieve. You will experience your own unique insights and revelations," according to a Web page published by Star's Edge Internationale -- Avatar's parent company.

A criminal case

The case has been coded "chen" (偵字案), meaning it is a case in which the Criminal Code (刑法) may have been violated. The task force said it would begin summoning people for questioning next week.

After the raids on Scoop Weekly magazine's five printing plants in Taipei County on Wednesday, prosecutors said that when the magazine gave away the VCDs, it may have violated Article 235 of the Criminal Code, which makes the distribution or sale of indecent material illegal.

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