The ambiguous relationship between police officers and private investigation companies was exposed following recent incidents in which police were charged for leaking confidential information to private detectives in exchange for money.
Earlier this month, Banciao prosecutors ordered the arrest of Taipei police officer Pang Shih-lung (
Banciao prosecutors also detained Cheng Kuei-hua (鄭貴華), an employee at Far EasTone Telecommunications Co, on suspicion of leaking customers' phone numbers to private detectives.
The main suspect, Tsai Chin-yu (
Banciao District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Huang Yu-yuan (
The reporter is not a target in the investigation, Huang added.
Chang Hsueh-ming (張學明), lead prosecutor at the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Kaohsiung office, told the Taipei Times that police are not authorized to monitor private phone calls during investigations of individuals suspected of involvement in criminal activity. They can only do so if they file a request first with prosecutors and are granted approval, Chang said.
To facilitate investigations, some police officers have come to rely on private detectives to do the dirty work for them.
Some of these companies have advanced equipment, such as global positioning systems, to assist in their investigations, Chang said.
Because of the ambiguous relationship between police and private detectives, there have been cases of police conniving or colluding with private detectives.
For example, some private detectives would masquerade as telephone servicemen so they could install wire taps in private residences, Chang said.
Lin Ching-tsung (林慶宗), a prosecutor with the high court's Kao-hsiung office, said there also have been cases of corrupt police officers accepting bribes and monitoring calls for private investigators.
Last year, Kaohsiung district prosecutors uncovered a case in which police officers requested permission to monitor 12 private phones for a drug investigation, but only nine turned out to be genuine; the other three numbers turned out to be the targets of private detectives' investigations.
Lin added that some law enforcement officers try to sneak in "call monitoring" in their list of requests when investigating big cases of weapons or drug smuggling involving many individuals -- a fact which prosecutors often overlook.
He said that if the officers charged with leaking confidential information were convicted, they could face a maximum of three years in prison. Their suit is still pending in the Kaohsiung District Court.
Meanwhile, Kaohsiung police officer Yeh Ming-te (葉銘德) said that investigating "extramarital affairs" is big business for many detective firms. Because adultery is defined as a crime under the Criminal Code, quite a number of people who suspect their spouses of infidelity turn to detectives for help.
Yeh said that when a couple who are suspected of having "illicit relations" check into a place, like a motel, detectives would sometimes call up the police to try to catch the couple in the act.
Yeh added that the police are not concerned whether the detectives did anything illegal in following and monitoring the couple; they are only concerned with whether the couple committed adultery or not. That has led to bolder actions by detectives in trailing and trapping their prey -- to the detriment of human rights, he said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
RULES TIGHTENED: Passengers arriving from Sydney and Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19, while passengers arriving from Seattle all tested negative Seventeen of the 217 passengers who arrived on long-haul at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning tested positive for COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the positivity rate was higher than expected. Yesterday was the first day that the government enforced stricter health guidelines for the testing of passengers arriving on long-haul flights. They must undergo a polymerase chain reaction test immediately after arriving at the nation’s international airports. Those who test positive are sent directly to hospitals to avoid spreading the virus to people working in and around the airports and at quarantine hotels. Victor Wang (王必勝),
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and