The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday provided what it called evidence that proves illegal monitoring was undertaken by the intelligence apparatus, saying spying on DPP officials began as early as March last year during the party’s presidential primary.
For the second time in three days, the party disclosed documents it said were leaked by anonymous sources at the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau to back the party’s claim that DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is being monitored by the bureau.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported on Wednesday last week that National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真) had asked the bureau in May to deploy 28 agents to monitor Tsai and that Hu had submitted to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) information detailing Tsai’s campaign schedule, meetings, contacts and the possible number of votes at stake.
The DPP has received an internal bureau document, dated March 21, that details the contacts, conversations and locations of Tsai and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), DPP spokesperson Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) told a press conference.
Tsai and Su were competing for the DPP presidential nomination in the party’s primary at the time.
The NSC and the bureau deny engaging in illegal monitoring, with the bureau saying it only gathered information to ensure the protection of the presidential candidates. Ma claims he was unaware of the practice.
On Monday, the DPP cited documents purportedly provided by a whistleblower at the bureau that it claimed confirmed the existence of a project codenamed the “An-Ping-Shun Project,” to monitor Tsai and People First Party (PFP) presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜). The source also told the DPP that Investigation Bureau Director Chang Ji-ping (張濟平) had ordered all the documents related to the project to be destroyed, a claim Chang has denied.
None of the information in the documents was related to the personal safety of the candidates, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said, adding that the bureau would have to explain why it began monitoring Tsai before she won the DPP’s presidential nomination.
“If the bureau began monitoring Ma’s potential opponents in his re-election bid, I would say this practice is even worse than the Watergate scandal,” Chen said.
Chang is not the only official who needs to offer an explanation as to what went on, as Hu still has to answer as to whether he ordered the bureau to carry out the operation and Ma has to confirm or deny whether he read the reports, Chen said.
The bureau is not authorized to gather intelligence on the DPP’s primary, which means the practice was illegal, DPP lawyer Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said, adding that the party would collect new evidence before filing new charges against Chang and Hu.
The DPP filed charges against Hu and Chang at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division on Tuesday over corruption and the violation of six laws, among them the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), the National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) and the Public Servants’ Administrative Neutrality Act (公務人員行政中立法).
In response, the bureau said that according to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act, it has a duty to investigate whether vote-buying and coercion occurs during party primaries and that as such, it was legal for the bureau to monitor the DPP’s primary.