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.
“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.”
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.