Fri, Nov 10, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Ministry of Justice seeks to prevent investigative leaks

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Civil servants and judicial officials will face disciplinary action if they are found to have leaked confidential information to the public, the Ministry of Justice said.

The ministry convened a meeting of the heads of prosecutors' offices nationwide on Monday to ask them to crack down on the rampant disclosure of official secrets.

Vice Minister of Justice Wang Tian-sheng (王添盛) told reporters that civil servants, especially law enforcement personnel, would face severe disciplinary action in addition to what was already stipulated in the Criminal Code if they were found to have leaked official secrets to elected officials, TV show hosts or commentators and reporters.

Such offenses have rarely been prosecuted in the past.

Wang said law enforcement personnel should obey gag orders during their investigations, but the ministry had evidence that information from ongoing investigations was shown on TV, which could have harmed the rights of the people involved.

Wang said that experience had shown the difficulty of determining who had leaked information, but prosecutors would make every effort to uncover the sources of the leaks.

These people would face criminal charges and be disciplined by their offices, he said.

Five agents from Kaohsiung branch of the ministry's Investigation Bureau who allegedly leaked confidential information about the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp investigation to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) and former Presidential Office deputy secretary-general Chen Che-nan (陳哲男) were disciplined last December and their cases sent to prosecutors.

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