Fri, Mar 29, 2002 - Page 3 News List

`Next' reporter defends NSB story

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Next magazine reporter Hsieh Zhong-liang is surrounded by reporters outside the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office yesterday before being summoned to explain his role in publishing a story regarding secret National Security Bureau accounts.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Next magazine senior reporter Hsieh Zhong-liang (謝忠良) yesterday defended the article he wrote about secret accounts of the National Security Bureau (NSB).

He said the article was about corruption in an agency operating "illegally and outside of the government structure," and he said that his actions did not breach national security.

Hsieh was speaking to reporters outside the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office, before entering the office for an interview with prosecutors. Last Thursday, prosecutors charged him with breaching national security and issued a ban on his leaving the country.

Hsieh admitted that he had received classified documents from a secret source and said that he would not reveal who that was.

He said the source did not tell him what the documents contained before transferring them to him a month ago. After reviewing them, he said, he concluded that they related to a "scandal" rather than to state secrets concerning national security and he therefore decided to write about them.

"Prosecutors took all the evidence when they raided my apartment and my office last week. I do not have any other documents to turn in. I'll certainly tell them how I got the documents but I'm afraid I cannot tell anybody who my source was.

"In the meantime, I do not regret what I've done because I don't think I've done anything wrong," he added.

Hsieh also said that no political party had been involved in providing him with the information. Indeed, he told reporters, he felt sorry for his brother, Hsieh Kung-bing (謝公秉), chief spokesman for the PFP, who is under a cloud of suspicion that he is the journalist's source of the information.

"It has nothing to do with my brother," Hsieh said.

The TSU on Wednesday accused PFP Chairman James Soong of having been in possession of the documents long before they were sent to Hsieh, citing media reports that Soong had claimed to have received information regarding the secret funds in June last year.

Lo Ming-ton (羅明通), Hsieh's lawyer, said that he had asked prosecutors to lift the ban preventing Hsieh from leaving the country because there was no reason to believe that he might abscond. Prosecutors responded, he said, by asking him to submit a written request.

Next magazine last Thursday published Hsieh's story about two secret NSB accounts that contain more than NT$3.5 billion -- and the alleged embezzlement of over NT$192 million by former NSB chief cashier, Colonel Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), in 2000.

Prosecutors then raided the magazine's office and printing plant, as well as Hsieh's apartment, confiscating 160,000 copies of the magazine.

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