Former tech exec suspected of placing hidden camera at Starbucks Taipei branch

Wealthy engineer only paid NT$400,000 bail on second attempt

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The place inside a Starbucks toilet in Taipei where a hidden camera was found.

The place inside a Starbucks toilet in Taipei where a hidden camera was found. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A 45-year-old former technology company chairman was out on bail Tuesday after being detained as the key suspect in the placing of a hidden camera inside a gender-neutral toilet at a Starbucks outlet in Taipei City.

The case dates back to May 24, when a woman using the restroom at the coffee chain’s Zhouzi Street branch in the Neihu District noticed a flashlight going off.

She reported the case, and police found a camera with a memory card containing 7,000 pictures, including many of the man who soon turned into the key suspect.

After the incident went public last Saturday, police closed in on a man named Wang (王), reportedly an unemployed Overseas Chinese engineer from South Korea, reports said.

His father was from China but had moved first to Korea and later to Taiwan, according to the China Times. Wang himself had studied in the United States, served as an engineer at the Hsinchu Science and Technology Park and later set up his own tech company.

Even though he reportedly lived with his wife and three children at a NT$60 million (US$1.9 million) apartment in Taipei’s Dazhi area and owned ten real estate properties, he was at first unable to pay bail set at NT$400,000 (US$13,000) after being taken in by police on Monday. His father and wife could only come up with NT$130,000 (US$4,200), according to the Liberty Times.

A second attempt at paying bail worked and Wang was seen leaving for home Tuesday afternoon without saying a word to waiting reporters. As a usual bail condition, he was barred from leaving the country and from traveling out to sea, reports said.

Police had taken away six laptops, two smartphones, two cameras and several flash drives from his home, the China Times reported.

Two women recognizable on the memory card found at Starbucks had filed charges, while two others were still being looked for by the investigators. However, Wang reportedly insisted during questioning that he was not involved in taking secret pictures.

At the time of the discovery, he had reportedly been in a next-door toilet, and tried to wipe out the camera’s memory before fleeing the coffee shop, reports said.

The Shilin District Prosecutors Office was in charge of the investigation and of questioning the suspect.