Conduct by judiciary officials during Tuesday’s search of New Party Youth Corps members’ homes as part of an espionage investigation was in accordance with legal procedures, Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office spokesman Chou Shih-yu (周士榆) said yesterday.
In response to allegations of human rights violations and other criticism by New Party officials and pan-blue camp politicians, Chou convened a news conference to confirm that the searches were in connection with follow-up investigations into the activities of convicted Chinese spy Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭).
“The searches carried out at [New Party spokesman] Wang Ping-chung’s (王炳忠) residence and those of other New Party members arose from Zhou’s conviction for breaches of the National Security Act (國家安全法),” Chou said. “The case is being handled by the Taiwan High Court, which found inconsistencies during its investigation.”
“After examining seized materials and witness testimonies, prosecutors will be able to clarify those inconsistencies and whether party members broke the law,” he said.
Chou said that Wang, along with his New Party colleagues Hou Han-ting (侯漢廷), Lin Ming-cheng (林明正) and Chen Ssu-chun (陳斯俊), were subpoenaed as witnesses in Zhou’s case, and officials had clearly explained their legal rights as witnesses during questioning.
“It was also explained to them that under the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法), there is no provision that requires the presence of a lawyer during questioning,” Chou said.
The investigation into Wang and his colleagues was initiated by the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB), which coordinated the investigation with Taipei prosecutors, he said.
“MJIB officials were armed with search warrants to conduct their operation. However, Wang resisted the search and started live broadcasting the scene,” Chou said, adding that Wang’s action raises suspicions he might have been colluding with other witnesses and interfering in an investigation that should be kept confidential.
Because of Wang’s actions and due to the urgency of the case, a locksmith was called to access his home, which is in line with the Code of Criminal Procedure, Chou said.
“Throughout the process, investigators were present and kept in contact with the lead prosecutor. The prosecutor did not enter the residence to conduct a search,” Chou added.
Chou also dispelled accusations by New Party officials regarding alleged time discrepancies by providing photocopies of the search warrants and subpoenas at the news conference, which showed Taipei District Court approval was given on Dec. 11, with the search to be conducted from 6am on Dec. 18 to 5pm on Dec. 21.
Details on locations, persons and objects permitted in the search were also documented.
“During the investigation phase, searches can be conducted on suspects, defendants, as well as third persons involved in the case,” the Taipei District Court said in a statement. “The search warrants were requested by the MJIB and were issued for searches on third persons related to the case.”
The court approved the search warrants as “the evidence presented by the MJIB conformed to the regulations under the Code of Criminal Procedure,” it said, adding that it would not disclose the evidence.
This was “due to the confidentiality principle and the possibility that it involves state secrets,” the court said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu