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Sat, Dec 29, 2001 - Page 3 News List

VCD probe finds tape, spy devices

PRIVATE EYES Officials have found 10 cameras and audio-recording devices installed in Chu Mei-feng's car, home and former office in Hsinchu

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei prosecutors investigating the Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) sex-VCD case said yesterday they found 10 hidden cameras and audio-recording devices installed in the female politician's apartment, former office and car.

In addition, investigators have retrieved a cassette tape and notebook from Kuo Yu-ling (郭玉鈴), who police suspect was behind the filming of a 40-minute sex video allegedly featuring Chu and her married lover.

Kuo, a "spiritual-growth" instructor and a former friend of Chu, was detained by prosecutors on Wednesday.

On Thursday, police searching Chu's Tamsui apartment found one camera and two audio-recording devices in her living room. They also found a camera in Chu's bedroom that wasn't discovered during an initial search.

Two more cameras and audio-recording devices were found in Chu's car.

At Chu's former office at Hsinchu's Cultural Affairs Bureau, investigators located two audio recorders. They earlier had found cables attached to a computer that may have been connected to a video or audio-recording device.

Also, police suspect Chu's cellphone may contain an eavesdropping device.

Prosecutors searching Kuo's apartment on Thursday turned up 26 blank cassette tapes and a notebook containing names and telephone numbers.

In addition, officials at the Taipei Detention House, where Kuo is being held, recovered a recorded cassette tape from the suspect's purse.

It is not yet known what is on the tape.

According to prosecutors, Kuo said she bought 30 blank cassette tapes in Hsinchu for possible "litigation reasons." Four of the tapes are missing, and police are seeking their whereabouts.

Kuo hasn't said where the four tapes are located.

Investigators yesterday also refused to say what was contained in Kuo's notebook.

But they said that based on its contents, they may need to question Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅), Chu's ex-boyfriend and former Hsinchu mayor.

According to prosecutors, Tsai and Kuo visited a private detective agency together to inquire about hidden cameras.

Kuo concedes she installed a pinhole camera in Chu's apartment, but she said she did so at her former friend's request.

Tsai has avoided reporters in recent days. Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), Hsinchu's former deputy mayor and Tsai's friend, said Tsai would give a public statement once the heat dies down.

Meanwhile, two Taipei City councilors -- the KMT's Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) and the DPP's Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) -- have urged the city government yesterday to crack down on hidden cameras that may be installed in public restrooms and fitting rooms.

"While authorities are investigating the Chu case, many female individuals are being filmed by hidden cameras," Lin said.

Yen said her office had received e-mails containing photos of women using public restrooms at a shopping mall. She said the photos highlight the problem of hidden cameras.

"The images captured by hidden cameras in public restrooms have been circulating on the Internet," Yen said. "This not only invades women's privacy but also violates women's rights. We hope the city government will look into the problem more seriously."

The city councilors said the restrooms of all restaurants, hotels, department stores, shopping malls and parks in Taipei should be checked for hidden cameras.

They also suggested establishing a database of people who have purchased cameras.

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