Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members yesterday accused Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Deputy Secretary-General Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and a Chinese businessman of attempting to bribe and intimidate self-professed Chinese spy William Wang Liqiang (王立強), while the Ministry of Justice confirmed that Australian authorities had sought Taiwan’s assistance to investigate an alleged threat to Wang’s life.
DPP presidential campaign office spokeswoman Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) said at a news conference in Taipei that the issue was “an international scandal.”
“It is repugnant for a top official to use intimidation and enticement to press Wang to recant his statement about spying, and then say he was bought off by the DPP for a large amount of money,” Chien said.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
“Wang Liqiang, who is currently in Australia, reported to police that Alex Tsai and another man had made threats against him,” Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) told the news conference in Taipei. “Australian police then contacted us with a request for information on Mr Tsai.”
The ministry confirmed Tsai’s position as KMT deputy secretary-general, but did not divulge further information on him, Chen said, adding that the case is being investigated by Australian police and the two sides are communicating through their respective judiciaries.
While Tsai said that former DPP secretary-general Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) had visited Australia and offered Wang money, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that Chiou had not traveled there to meet Wang.
The reports in Australian newspapers did not say that Wang spoke with Chiou, Kuan said.
Separately yesterday, Chiou said in a statement that “the KMT has resorted to rumors, conjecture and false accusations.”
“I have not visited Australia in my whole life,” Chiou said. “The other allegations are pure fabrications. I have the legal right to sue [people for false accusations] and we hope such misunderstandings end here so that Taiwan’s democracy is not harmed.”
“Tsai’s actions are to interfere with the elections to tilt them in the KMT’s favor,” he said. “They were also aimed at rescuing [Hong Kong-based China Innovation Investment (中國創新投資) executive director] Xiang Xin (向心),” Kuan said.
“Tsai is attempting to frame the DPP and make it appear that Wang made up a spy story to fool the Australian authorities,” he said.
On Wednesday, Australian newspapers reported that police there were investigating.
“The Australian Federal Police is treating seriously alleged threats to Mr Wang, with sources confirming they opened an investigation in the hours after the first message was received on Christmas Eve,” The Age reported.
Wang “was told in a series of messages that his family would be spared punishment and his debts would be repaid if he gave a public statement retracting his claims about spying for China,” the newspaper reported, adding that the messages came from Tsai and Chinese businessman Sun Tianqun (孫天群).
“Mr Wang was provided with a script and told to record a video message in which he would falsely claim that Taiwan’s democratically elected governing party, the Democratic Progressive Party, had bribed him to lie by offering him a large sum of money,” The Age reported.
Such a video would have been a controversial intervention in tomorrow’s presidential election amid accusations that the Chinese Communist Party has attempted to influence the vote.
Three cases of Candida auris, a fungus that can cause a yeast infection known as candidiasis in humans, have been reported in Taiwan over the past few years, but they did not display drug resistance, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said yesterday. Lo made the statement at a news conference in Taipei, one day after the Washington Post reported that the potentially deadly fungus is spreading in US hospitals. The fungus was first discovered in Japan in 2009 and poses a danger to immunocompromised people, with an estimated mortality rate of 30 to 60 percent, Lo
‘DIRE’: Taiwan would not engage in ‘dollar diplomacy,’ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, after China reportedly offered Honduras up to US$3 billion to establish relations The government yesterday recalled its ambassador to Honduras after the Central American nation sent its foreign minister to China, signaling that it would sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Suspicions concerning ties with Honduras are rife after Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Tuesday last week wrote on Twitter that her country would pursue diplomatic ties with China. Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina traveled to China on Wednesday “to promote efforts for the establishment of diplomatic relations” on instructions from Castro, Reuters yesterday quoted Honduran presidential spokesman Ivis Alvarado as saying. The government “has decided to immediately recall the ambassador to Honduras
SWITCH TO BEIJING: The government severed diplomatic relations about an hour after Honduras announced the move, saying that no semi-official ties would be maintained Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Honduras and ended all cooperation with the Central American country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, about an hour and a half after the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter at 8am Taiwan time that the nation would cut its ties with Taiwan. Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Wednesday sent Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina to Beijing to negotiate the establishment of diplomatic relations. She announced the plan on March 14 on Twitter. “To safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan is terminating diplomatic ties with Honduras with immediate effect” after communication with
MEDIA, SOCIETY FOCUS: Doublethink Lab said that Beijing is trying to coerce countries that rely on China economically to pursue policies in its favor China has stronger influence over Taiwan’s media and society than any other country, the Taipei-based Doublethink Lab think tank said yesterday, as it announced its China Index gauging Beijing’s global influence. Taiwan ranked 11th overall among 82 countries assessed, but first in terms of social and media influence, Doublethink Lab chairman Puma Shen (沈伯洋) told a news conference in Taipei. More than 200 experts and academics participated in the project, including some highly influential figures, Shen said. The index collects information from countries worldwide to gauge China’s influence and assess how Chinese policies affect them, Shen said. In terms of Chinese