Tue, Dec 16, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Reporter cleared of espionage charges

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said it had dropped charges against a former Central News Agency (CNA) reporter accused of passing on confidential information to China.

The office said it decided not to proceed with the prosecution against Kuo Mei-lan (郭玫蘭) due to insufficient evidence, adding that it found no proof of unusual financial transactions and the information she provided did not undermine national security.

Kuo was detained on spying charges in February and released after posting bail of NT$200,000.

Prosecutors initially alleged that Kuo, who was working as a correspondent for CNA in China covering cross-strait affairs in 2007, got romantically involved with a Taiwanese businessman, surnamed Chou (周). They said that Chou introduced her to a Chinese intelligence official, surnamed Lu (路), who allegedly pressed her to collect useful information in Taiwan and pass it on to him.

Lu allegedly asked Kuo to try to penetrate the inner circle of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Falun Gong to gather confidential and personal information, prosecutors said.

After leaving CNA in 2007, Kuo returned to Taiwan and allegedly began to get acquainted with members of the DPP, Falun Gong and civic groups. According to investigators, Kuo allegedly linked up with several senior DPP members and invited them to all-expense paid trips to China, with the promise of meetings with senior Chinese government officials.

Investigators found that Kuo had sent e-mails of political articles analyzing Taiwan’s 2008 presidential elections and the text of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inauguration speech. Kuo countered that these were news reports that are available to the public.

Falun Gong witnesses said that they were contacted and interviewed by Kuo, but she said it was just for news reporting and not for intelligence-gathering.

Although Kuo made these contacts in Taiwan and sent the information to China, prosecutors said there was no evidence that Lu paid Kuo for the materials.

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