Thu, Nov 05, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Prosecutors deride media over escort ring

NOTEBOOK EVIDENCE:Investigators have reportedly uncovered a customer list in an international sex-trade scandal that could implicate globally influential people

By Jason Pan  /  Staff Reporter

Taipei prosecutors yesterday continued their probe into an international escort ring allegedly headed by Tai Chun-yi (戴君儀) and Chung Yi-tzu (鍾宜姿) by summoning 22 alleged victims and witnesses, while criticizing media reports speculating on who might be involved.

Prosecutors armed with search warrants seized a notebook from Tai, which reportedly contains a list of alleged customers of the ring, along with contact numbers. Most of those allegedly named in the book are wealthy businessmen in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.

The notebook also allegedly contains the names of Taiwanese models and starlets available for escort and sexual services and a price list.

Some of the information allegedly found during the investigation has been reported on by the local media.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office released an official statement saying its staff abide by the principle of confidentiality during an investigation and work to protect victims’ privacy.

“In the past few days, some media outlets have speculated on the names of female models and entertainers who could be linked to the case. However, there is no basis to these speculations and is not in keeping with factual information,” the office said.

However, the Chinese-language weekly Next Magazine yesterday published what it said was a partial list of the ring’s customers and escorts.

The magazine alleged that the list in Tai’s notebook contained names of 18 wealthy businessmen listed as regular customers, and a total of 38 female names, mostly women in the entertainment and modeling industry.

The magazine also alleged that in addition to human trafficking and sex-trade charges, Tai could also be accused of procuring under-aged girls for businessmen visiting Taiwan.

The magazine said the partial list allegedly includes a former government minister, an influential politician, the head of a Taiwanese financial conglomerate, owners of high-tech companies in Taiwan and China, a Taiwanese telecommunications tycoon, a Hong Kong film industry mogul, a top Hong Kong movie star and a Macau casino owner and entertainment industry investor.

Taiwanese and US law-enforcement agencies are working together to investigate telephone calls and messages from of Tai and Chung, which have allegedly included more customer names, including Americans and Chinese living in the US, along with other Taiwanese and Chinese businessmen not listed in the notebook.

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