Taipei Times: Ministry to probe groups linked to illegal entries

The Ministry of the Interior is to conduct a thorough investigation of shell associations and groups allegedly involved in an operation that provided illegal entry to Taiwan for Chinese officials and even spies, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) said yesterday.

It is to investigate whether the groups have been involved in abnormal cross-strait exchanges, Chen said.

The number of groups to be surveyed must be considerable, but the ministry does not have an exact figure at present, he said.

Prosecutors said that the operation was allegedly headed by Hung Ching-lin (洪慶淋), a retired journalist and former office director of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) caucus at the then-Taipei County Council.

Other suspects included Hung’s wife and daughter, as well as the owners and managers of New Taipei City-based travel agencies, prosecutors said.

Hung allegedly registered more than 100 nonprofit organizations and shell companies with the New Taipei City Government, and colluded with about 20 travel agencies, prosecutors said.

Huaxia Dadi Travel Service Co (華夏大地旅行社) — which is run by Chang Wei (張瑋), the son of Chinese Unification Promotion Party (CUPP) founder Chang An-le (張安樂) — was among the shell associations, prosecutors said.

Many of the itineraries arranged by Huaxia Dadi included meetings with top Bamboo Union gang members and CUPP officials, prompting prosecutors to suspect the true purposes of the “tourist visits,” they said.

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