Prosecutors yesterday indicted a top-ranking aviation police official on corruption charges following an investigation into allegations that a Chinese company used sexual enticements and kickbacks to secure sales of substandard Chinese-made X-ray scanners for use at Taiwanese airports.
In 2014, Sun Yi-ming (孫一鳴), then-chief of the Aviation Police Bureau’s Aviation Security Section, was in charge of a government procurement contract totaling NT$70 million (US$2.18 million at current exchange rates) for 17 X-ray scanners for airport security checks of passengers and luggage.
After their installation, airport security officials took to calling the machines “blind X-ray scanners” after finding that the devices are of substandard quality and performance compared with international brands, prone to breaking down and are frequently unable to detect restricted items.
Investigators found that the machines were made by China-based Nuctech Co (同方威視), which had the parts shipped for assembly and repackaging in Japan to deceive Taiwanese officials, who believed the devices were made in Japan, bypassing a ban on Chinese-made products in procurements of high-tech machines with uses related to national security.
Taoyuan prosecutor Liu Yu-shu (劉玉書) said the investigation indicated that 48-year-old Sun received NT$3.06 million from Nuctech in kickbacks and approved the procurement because he was seduced by a Chinese woman named Li Weilin (李委霖), who was then reportedly Nuctech’s sales manager for Taiwan.
Li, 32, allegedly seduced Sun, despite him being married with children, developing from frequent sexual trysts into a long-term extramarital affair beginning in 2013.
According to travel records, between 2014 and April this year, Li accompanied Sun on holiday trips to Singapore, the UK and various Chinese cities, investigators said, adding that a search of Sun’s residence in May uncovered USB memory sticks containing sex tapes they had produced during their travels.
Officials said the case was a classic case of a “honey trap,” a ploy used by intelligence agencies to entrap a male target with a female agent through the enticement of sex, adding that this case involved industrial espionage with national security implications.
When the case first came to light last year, airport security experts called it a serious breach of national security, as the X-ray scanners are networked and could be remotely controlled by Chinese operators to collect data or be rigged to enable the smuggling of weapons into Taiwan.
Investigators also found an e-mail to Sun written by Li, in which she made various promises to continue their relationship, such as vowing to remain faithful, give her love to Sun, always obey Sun’s commands and unconditionally support his decisions.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
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