Prosecutors charge Taiwan Civil Government suspects

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jul 11, 2018 - Page 4

Six key figures of the Taiwan Civil Government group, which advocates Taiwan’s right to self-determination, have been indicted on charges of fraud and illegal fundraising in the name of the organization, the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office said on Monday.

Prosecutors charged the suspects with breaching the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防治條例) and Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法).

Group founder and secretary-general Roger Lin (林志昇), 67; his wife, Lin Chih-an (林梓安), 51; and four other members defrauded 315 people of about NT$770 million (US$25.33 million) by asking for political donations and other means, they said.

Roger Lin also engaged in questionable business schemes, they added.

Prosecutors said that during a raid of the group’s headquarters and members’ residences in May, they seized large amounts of cash — NT$134.43 million, US$50,000 and 2,000 euros — and discovered that Lin owned four plots of land and four buildings.

They also uncovered large quantities of jewelry, and confiscated 60 cartons of documents and other evidence, they said.

Prosecutors on Monday filed a motion requesting a court order to seize Roger Lin’s properties.

There was speculation that the suspects might also be charged with breaches of national security for establishing a “civil government” and claiming that the Republic of China government is not the legally recognized government of Taiwan.

However, there was no evidence that the organization was used by a foreign government or group as a front to collect intelligence, prosecutors said.

The Taiwan Civil Government was a “financial scam based on political ideology,” in which Roger Lin and group officials sold memberships and dubious investment schemes, including deceiving people about acquiring US residency, they added.

Roger Lin in 2008 founded the group with the mission of normalizing Taiwan’s legal status in the global community, with the first step being to hold a referendum that would allow Taiwanese to determine their own nationality, the group’s official Web site said.