Fri, Nov 18, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Court hears reasons for detaining Liu

RISK:Prosecutors said the case involved the potential for threats against the victim and that the Taiwanese diplomat had taken steps to have the victim located and deported

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Mark Chou, deputy head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, Missouri, explains the government’s position on the arrest of TECO Director-General Jacqueline Liu to reporters in Kansas yesterday.

Photo: CNA

US prosecutors yesterday said one of the four reasons why they should continue the pretrial detention of Taiwanese diplomat Jacqueline Liu (劉姍姍), who has been charged with labor fraud involving a Filipino housekeeper, was the risk she poses to the victim and any other witnesses who have provided statements against her.

Liu, director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, Missouri, faces charges of forcing her Philippine maid to work excessively long hours, paying her less than promised, keeping her in virtual isolation and taking her passport.

In the court document presented to the detention hearing held on Wednesday, prosecutors, who earlier filed an affidavit with the court that contained testimonies given by three TECO officials that corroborated the allegations, said: “The weight [of evidence] against the defendant is extremely strong.”

“The government has numerous cooperating witnesses and documentation which demonstrates the defendant’s fraudulent fraud,” the document said.

Prosecutors said the case involved the potential for threats against the victim and witnesses.

“The female victim had to escape from the confines of the defendant. The defendant took steps to have her located and then deported,” the document said.

“The offense involved threats, fraud and coercion against the victim. The defendant treated her prior domestic servant similarly and she had to also endure physical abuse. The employees at the TECO are also afraid of the defendant,” it said.

Prosecutors said the case also involves a serious risk that Liu would leave the country.

“The defendant, while not aware of the extent of the investigation or the subject matter of the investigation, once aware of the possibility of a federal investigation made reservations to depart from the US immediately,” prosecutors said.

At the hearing, Liu waived her rights to bail and she was ordered to return into custody. She has been detained since her arrest.

Liu’s attorney James Wirkin has entered negotiations with prosecutors over a plea bargain agreement. Her case is scheduled to go to a grand jury in 30 days if a plea is not accepted.

If convicted, Liu faces up to five years in prison, a US$250,000 fine, three years supervised release, plus a US$100 special assessment and order of restitution, local media reported.

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