Former Hsinchu mayor will reply

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Dec 30, 2001 - Page 3

Speaking through a friend, former Hsinchu mayor Tsai Jen-chien (蔡仁堅) yesterday urged prosecutors to summon him for questioning soon to calm speculation that he was behind the Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) sex-VCD scandal.

Tsai, who had a romantic relationship with Chu for four years, was seen driving Kuo Yu-ling (郭玉鈴), the prime suspect in the investigation, to a private-detective agency where Kuo inquired about hidden cameras.

Cheng Kwai-yuan (鄭貴元), an incumbent Hsinchu councilor and close friend of Tsai, said the ex-mayor wished investigators would question him because he is fed up with news reports implicating him in the affair.

"The media churn out different stories each day as though they are leading the investigation," Cheng quoted Tsai as saying. "But truth will prevail. I hope to appear before prosecutors as soon as possible to clear my name once and for all."

Cheng briefed reporters after Tsai visited him at his campaign headquarters, where the two talked for an hour and a half. Cheng is seeking to retain his seat in elections next month.

Tsai did not comment directly yesterday but his friend Hsu Wen-ping (許文彬) said Tsai may take the initiative and testify before the investigators pending the advice of aides.

But investigators said they have not decided when to question Tsai, or if such questioning will be necessary.

The former mayor expressed outrage at reports that painted him as a vindictive jilted lover who instructed Kuo to spy on Chu and tape her sex encounters to take vengeance on Chu's betrayal.

Through his former deputy, Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰), Tsai maintained he had no knowledge of Kuo's deal with the private detective agency where he had his car checked for wire-tapping devices.

Lin said it is not impossible for rival camps to engage in the practice to boost their campaign and that he had his car checked for bugs in before the Dec 1 elections.

Plagued by rumors about his romantic life, Tsai lost his mayoral post to the KMT challenger, Lin said.

Meanwhile, investigators said that more master VCD recordings Chu's private life are likely still in circulation, based on codified information in Kuo's notebook.

They said that Kuo is cunning and has been very uncooperative during the investigation.

She would not say what the entries in her notebook meant or where the video tapes are, investigators said.

Earlier, Kuo admitted to hiring a private detective agency in Hsinchu to install the hidden camera at Chu's Tamsui apartment, but insisted she did so at Chu's request. Prosecutors put her in detention Wednesday for fear that she may destroy evidence implicating her in the crime. She works as an instructor for a Buddhist sect and had been an good friend of Chu.

Several VCD manufacturers testified that Kuo approached them last summer, asking for NT$3.5 million in exchange for the right to reproduce the copy of Chu's sex encounter with a married man.

But they turned down the offer, casting doubt over the legality of the deal.