Taipei MRT free Wi-Fi contractor suspected of Communist China ties

Contractor providing free Wi-Fi to Taiwan's mass transit railways suspected to have ties with Communist China

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A subcontractor which has won the bid to provide Free Wi-Fi being on Taiwan's mass transit railways may be funded by Communist China, announced the Investment Commission, Ministry of Economic Affairs on Tuesday (March 19), as reported by CNA.

The commission's initial findings indicate that subcontractor Speedlink's (台灣迅聯通信) shareholders include Singapore and Hong Kong nationals. The company will be asked to provide full details of its funding sources and disclose the identity of shareholders, while the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau will also be asked to investigate the matter.

At the Legislative Yuan on Monday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) claimed the public Wi-Fi systems on Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) have all been “invaded by Chinese investment." Cheng said Speedlink is "the same company as China's Comba Telecom Systems Holdings."

A National Communications Commission (NCC) official said in a CNA interview that Speedlink’s parent company is funded by China. The official said this needed to be clarified, in addition to determining whether it is an investment licensing project.

The official said the NCC's position is that no public telecommunication equipment or systems made in China should be used on the country’s 4G or 5G railway networks.

The Investment Commission said it had been found that Speedlink's shareholders were Singaporean and Hong Kong nationals. According to Hong Kong and Macau regulations on foreign investment, shareholders from these cities must confirm they have identity cards and China travel permits that prove they do not have Chinese household registration.

The Investment Commision said Speedlink had to explain its investment sources and disclose the names of shareholders in the near future. It would also call on the National Security Bureau and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau to assist in the investigation.

If investigators find Speedlink received Chinese investment, a fine of NT$120,000 (US$3,800) to NT$600,000 will be imposed, in accordance with the relevant regulations. The company will continue to be fined until its ties with Chinese investors are cut.

When Taiwan News contacted the Taipei Metro for comment, it responded that five telecom companies provide Wi-Fi on the MRT, but it did not know which subcontractors these companies used.