Fri, Jan 18, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai ‘emissary’ was ‘Liberty Times’ reporter

SAFETY HAZARD:The Presidential Office said reporters for a Hong Kong paper could be deported if they were found to have shadowed visitors near the office’s Taipei premises

By Su Yung-yao and Sean Lin  /  Staff reporters

The Presidential Office yesterday rejected a report by the Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had sent an “emissary” to shadow student leaders of the Hong Kong independence movement in Taipei, saying that it was fake news aimed at misleading the public.

The China-leaning newspaper reported that Tsai had sent a middle-aged “Mr X” to spy on Socialocalism convener Tony Chung (鍾翰林) and two other members of the Hong Kong independence group when the trio was visiting Taipei earlier this week.

Mr X meticulously documented the trio’s every move, including where they dined and what books they read, and later set up an appointment with the students at Academia Historica near the Presidential Office Building, where they talked for one-and-a-half hours, the newspaper said.

Yang Yueh-ching (楊月清) — the wife of Taiwanese independence supporter and political commentator Paul Lin (林保華) — was also at the meeting, it said.

During the meeting, the three “unkempt” young people sat upright and listened intently as Mr X passed on his knowledge and strategies about pushing for independence, the paper said.

Mr X went through a stack of documents, among which was a folder bearing the words “Taiwan Youth Anti-Communist Corps,” of which Yang is a key member, it added.

After the meeting, Mr X passed through lines of military police guarding the Presidential Office Building to his car in the parking lot, while the three students proceeded to a teahouse, it said.

Judging by Mr X’s license plate number, he is likely a government official, the report said, quoting anonymous Taiwanese reporters.

Local reporters joked about the report after it was found that Mr X was a reporter for the Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times).

The Presidential Office at a news conference dismissed the news as “pure fiction.”

Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that it condemned Ta Kung Pao’s stalking of the Hong Kong students, as well as its publication of fake news in an attempt to mislead the public.

“A China-friendly Hong Kong news outlet shadowing visitors and reporters near the Presidential Office is a safety hazard,” Huang said. “The office attaches great importance to this issue and has instructed the National Security Bureau to investigate.”

Asked how the incident would be dealt with if Ta Kung Pao’s actions are determined to be illegal, Huang said that authorities could deport Ta Kung Pao reporters if they find that their activities belied the stated purpose of their visit.

Should the affected parties decide to press charges, the judiciary would take action, he added.

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