Sat, Feb 15, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Yang Hui-ju case begins at Taipei District Court

By Wen Yu-te  /  Staff reporter

Yang Hui-ju, a former campaign aide to Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh, arrives at the Taipei District Court yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

A court case involving Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如) began at the Taipei District Court yesterday.

Yang is accused of heading a group that posted messages online that have been linked to the suicide in 2018 of diplomat Su Chii-cherng (蘇啟誠).

Yang was a Web manager for Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) 2008 presidential campaign.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Dec. 2 last year indicted Yang over comments online that accused the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Osaka of failing to offer timely help to Taiwanese in Japan during Typhoon Jebi, which made landfall in Japan on Sept. 4, 2018.

Critics have accused the DPP of paying Yang to run the “green camp cyberarmy.”

Yang and the DPP have denied the accusations.

Prosecutors investigated reports that Yang on Sept. 6, 2018, met Tsai Fu-ming (蔡福明), who she allegedly provided with Professional Technology Temple (PTT) accounts, including one named “idcc.”

PTT is the nation’s largest online bulletin board system.

She allegedly instructed Tsai and others to generate discussion in PTT articles about evacuation proceedings at Kansai International Airport in the wake of the storm after it forced the airport’s closure on Sept. 4, 2018.

Messages critical of the official response to Taiwanese stranded at the airport were reported at the time.

The Osaka office was responsible for the travelers.

Su, who was director-general of the Osaka office at the time, committed suicide at his residence eight days later.

Media reports said that his death might have been linked to work pressure caused by public criticism.

Yang denied any wrongdoing in court yesterday.

She said she had instructed people to “clarify false information on the situation” after posts that said China had dispatched buses to the airport to help evacuate people, and had picked up Taiwanese passengers as well as Chinese.

This was later shown to be false reporting.

Prosecutor Chen Chao-shih (陳照世) said that Yang’s and Tsai’s actions were outside the realm of freedom of expression, and had seriously undermined the nation’s authorities.

Tsai and other defendants apart from Yang were not at the hearing yesterday.

Tsai pleaded guilty to related charges in an earlier case.

He has said that Yang instructed him and others to post the messages on PTT.

Additional reporting by Jason Pan

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