Fri, Apr 10, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Veteran, 88, in cross-strait triangle

TWO WIVES, NO CLUE:A Taiwanese man said he had no idea that a Chinese woman surnamed Tao registered herself as his wife in Pingtung, immigration officials said

By Lee Li-fa and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

National Immigration Agency officials said they are perplexed by a recent case involving a complex web of relationships between Chinese women and a Taiwanese military veteran.

Agency officials in Pingtung County said the marriage of a Chinese woman surnamed Tao (陶) and an 88-year-old Taiwanese veteran surnamed Hu (胡) has angered a Chinese woman surnamed Ming (明), who filed a lawsuit alleging bigamy and said that Tao is interested only in a potential financial inheritance from Hu.

Two of Ming’s older sisters and Tao were married to other Taiwanese veterans in Taiwan more than a decade ago, and later introduced the youngest Ming sister to Hu, the officials said.

The youngest Ming sister and Hu were married in 2004 in China, but Ming was unable to immigrate to Taiwan after she failed an interview, NIA officials said, adding that Hu still wired money to China for her every month.

Over the past decade, he had sent her more than NT$1.8 million (US$57,635), officials said.

Although Hu continued to apply for Taiwanese residency for his wife, the age difference between the two — 40 years — appeared suspicious to immigration officers, the officials said.

Tao’s Taiwanese husband, surnamed Chen (陳), passed away in 2013. Tao then allegedly persuaded Hu — who has mild dementia — to register themselves as a married couple in September last year, officials said, adding that Tao thought that the youngest Ming sister might come to Taiwan.

The marriage was witnessed by Tao’s housemate, Chiu (邱), the officials said.

Tao’s action — seen as a money grab — angered the Ming sisters, the youngest of whom recently visited the Pingtung branch of the NIA to file a lawsuit against Hu alleging bigamy, which if proven would deprive Tao of eligibility to any financial reward in Hu’s will, officials said.

Hu’s marriage to Ming in 2004 is still legally valid, the branch said.

Prior to a 2007 amendment to marriage laws, all couples had to do to be recognized as man and wife was to hold a celebration banquet, which was known as “ceremonial marriage” by law.

Due to multiple reports of property disputes, bigamy or fraudulent marriages, the Ministry of the Interior amended Article 982 of the Civil Code, calling for marriage documentation signed by two or more witnesses to be provided.

When asked by the branch to give his account on the matter, Hu said: “I was unaware of the incident; Tao took my personal identification and made the registration at the household registration office.”

Agency officials said they have been unable to make any headway in the case, adding that despite multiple attempts to call Tao and Chiu into the branch to explain the matter, the two have not made contact.

Branch officials said they notified the district prosecutors’ office on Saturday last week and suggested that prosecutors issue an arrest warrant for Tao and Chiu, so the facts of the case can come to light.

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