Ko aide linked to reporter amid leaks

‘UNCANNY’::A ‘Next Magazine’ report said that Chang Yan-chin was able to predict the Taipei mayor’s whereabouts because of a ‘double agent’ providing leads for her

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jun 18, 2016 - Page 3

Accusations arose on Wednesday linking a Taipei City official’s pursuit of a female reporter to a controversial polygraph test the city administration conducted in response to reports of leaked information.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) earlier this week told the Taipei City Council that the polygraph test was to find out who was behind an alleged leak regarding the Taipei Dome construction impasse with Farglory Group (遠雄集團) and that Huang Tzu-wei (黃子維), former secretary to Taipei Deputy Mayor Charles Lin (林欽榮), was fired because he refused to take the test.

However, reports emerged saying that the test was a power-play aimed at removing a secretary who frequently provided information about Ko’s personal schedule to a female reporter who he was romantically interested in.

Ko later back-tracked, saying that Huang left “for other reasons.”

The city government said that three out of 18 officials suspected of leaking survey results were asked to take the test, including Huang.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) on Wednesday said on a talk show that in Ko’s first year as mayor, a female reporter with Next TV had often received information about Ko’s private schedule and frequently interviewed him without other reporters around and that Huang had leaked the mayor’s schedules.

This gave the reporter many exclusive stories, for which she was promoted by Next TV, where she is now an anchorwoman, Lin said.

A report published in Wednesday’s edition of Next Magazine said that the reporter was Chang Yan-chin (張硯卿), whose “uncanny” ability to predict Ko’s whereabouts led other reporters to inundate the city government’s Media Affairs Division with complaints about “double agents” in Ko’s administration feeding Chang exclusive leads.

Ko’s chief-of-staff, Tsai Pi-ju (蔡璧如), launched a probe into the alleged leaks and discovered that Huang had called Ko’s office many times to inquire about the mayor’s schedules, the Chinese-language report said.

After the Dome survey results were leaked in April, the city government checked outgoing correspondence records and found that Huang had made a 17-minute telephone call to a Storm Media reporter the day before a report was published about the survey results, showing city councilors’ inclinations on what to do about the Dome, it said.

This incident involving Huang reportedly hardened Ko’s determination to fire him, paving the way for the polygraph test, it said.

Taipei City Government spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said that administration members had leaked information exclusively to a news outlet before and it had taken measures to resolove the problem.

He declined to comment on whether Huang’s alleged actions were motivated by romance.