A Taoyuan man is facing defamation charges for allegedly circulating rumors online that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was profiting from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said yesterday.
CIB officers on Saturday questioned Hsu Te-chung (徐德忠), 48, for allegedly using the account name Sung Chung-chi (宋中積) to post messages online that accused the DPP of hoarding surgical masks to sell at a monthly profit of NT$4.5 billion (US$148.76 million).
DPP officials filed a request for a police investigation after the claims were widely circulated on Facebook, the messaging app Line and other social media.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Prosecutors said that Hsu, who works in elevator repair and is a self-professed fan of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), created Facebook pages featuring images of Han dressed in military attire and discussion with fellow supporters of the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate about campaign activities.
When located at his home, Hsu reportedly told CIB officers: “Why is this so serious? I had only posted these messages to a few groups on Facebook.”
Meanwhile, prosecutors said they are investigating a man and a woman who allegedly provided officials with false information after returning to Taiwan on a Jan. 16 flight from Wuhan, China, which is at the center of the 2019-nCoV outbreak.
Authorities could not locate the man, surnamed Feng (馮), and the woman, surnamed Chen (陳), at the Taipei address they provided, prosecutors said.
Health officials have ordered all travelers returning from Wuhan and Hubei Province to remain in their residences for 14 days, which is the suspected incubation period for 2019-nCoV, prosecutors said.
However, Feng and Chen yesterday spoke separately to reporters, saying that they did not know each other and that they had followed the orders about home confinement.
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