Ma son-in-law raises security concerns: TSU legislators

PUBLIC OR PRIVATE?:The TSU said Ma’s daughter and son-in-law living in a Chinese territory raised national security concerns, and urged Tsai to perform his military service

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Mar 14, 2013 - Page 3

The military service, occupational and residential status of Allen Tsai (蔡沛然), who was revealed to have married President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) eldest daughter, Lesley Ma (馬唯中), are all legitimate national security concerns, the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.

The Presidential Office called for Tsai and Lesley Ma’s privacy to be respected after their marriage became the talk of the nation over the past few days, with local media reporting on Tsai’s modeling work and not fulfilling his compulsory military service.

“Privacy has to be respected, but it is more than a privacy issue when you are talking about members of the first family living in an enemy state — it is a national security issue,” TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said.

Tsai, 32, works at a financial institution in Hong Kong and the couple are residing in the Chinese territory.

Lin said Tsai would have to explain whether his current position involves cross-strait banking and if it is possible for him to improperly exploit his connection to Taiwan’s first family.

The couple’s decision to live in Hong Kong is also likely to create a dilemma for the National Security Bureau (NSB) because of the former British colony’s status as a Chinese territory, she added.

The NSB was able to work with US agencies on security affairs when Lesley Ma lived and worked in the US, Lin said.

“However, that is not likely to happen in Hong Kong, where China calls the shots now, despite the NSB assuring that the couple is safe,” she said.

With regards to Tsai’s military service, the government said Tsai is not required to serve, despite continuing to hold Republic of China citizenship, because he is considered an overseas national.

TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) urged the president to ask the couple to return to Taiwan to reduce national security concerns and to show their love for the country.

At the Legislative Yuan, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) made the same appeal, saying that the president should hold his son-in-law to the highest moral standards possible and encourage him to return to Taiwan and serve in the military.

“While Tsai is not legally required to serve, his service would be a big boost to the military’s morale,” he said.

Separately yesterday, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said the NSB is in charge of security for President Ma’s daughter and that should the need arise, the council will help communicate with Hong Kong, where she lives.

“If the NSB makes a request, then our office in Hong Kong will communicate with the Hong Kong authorities to help with our security protection,” he said.

However, he said the bureau has made no such request.

Additional reporting by CNA