The Internet protocol (IP) addresses of many computers used to post hateful comments targeting Taiwanese politicians and political commentators are in Asia, particularly China, police said on Wednesday.
After several public figures reported hateful remarks posted on their Facebook or YouTube pages for comments they made about Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), police found that nearly all of the comments were posted from IP addresses in China, they said.
Political commentator Huang Kuang-chin (黃光芹) told New Taipei City police that she received death threats online after she asked Han in a radio interview in March whether he would run for president next year, given that he has only been Kaohsiung’s mayor since December last year.
Han said at the time that he was not considering a presidential run, indicating that he would serve his full four-year term as mayor.
However, Huang’s questioning angered some of Han’s supporters, who said that she had put him on the spot.
Demanding that Han control what she described as his “fanatical” supporters, Huang told police that some netizens had threatened to kill her son.
The family of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) was also allegedly threatened, with a barrage of comments flooding his Facebook page, after he said that “most of Han’s supporters are not rational.”
The Facebook pages of city councilors Chien Huan-tsung (簡煥宗) and Cheng Meng-ju (鄭孟洳) were also spammed with hateful comments after they questioned Han during an interpellation session at the Kaohsiung City Council earlier this month, reports said.
One Facebook user named Cheng Hui-wen (程惠雯) who threatened Huang and Chiang had a false account with a Chinese IP address, police said.
Two of Chien’s other attackers had IP addresses from outside Taiwan, they said, adding that one was likely a Chinese user in Malaysia and the other in China, as they used simplified Chinese characters.
Although the police could see that many who posted comments had Chinese IP addresses, it was difficult to determine the users’ true identities, they said, vowing to uncover the identities and ban them from Taiwan.
As the Jan. 12 presidential election approaches, police urge the public to stay vigilant and not to listen to anonymous posters on social media who intend to divide Taiwanese.
Police said they aim to cooperate with Facebook, so Taiwan-based users who make public threats would be indicted and have their accounts suspended.
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