TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Taiwanese actress, Sally Chen (陳莎莉), who made a career working primarily in China, is making headlines and challenging Taiwanese media reports after stories emerged that she was bilked of her life savings by Chinese persons offering black market financial services.
Mirror Media first reported on Wednesday (June 5) that Chen’s fortune of over NT$140 million (US$4.5 million), saved over 19 years working in China’s film industry, was stolen overnight by untrustworthy partners who agreed to help her transfer the funds to Taiwan via unofficial pipelines.
The original reports state that Chen was introduced to the mystery broker “by a friend” in China, who agreed to help her transfer her money from China to Taiwan for her retirement fund.
However, on Wednesday afternoon, Apple Daily reported that Chen has contradicted the report, saying that the reports are untrue, and that she has never had problems transferring money to Taiwan.
Chen, now 70 years old, is known as the “Empress specialist” since she has portrayed over a dozen Chinese empresses in films and television programs over her long career.
Earlier reports said that Chen recently made the decision to retire back home in Taiwan, and wanted an easy way to transfer her savings in China back to Taiwan at one time. However, legal restrictions in China make transferring large sums out of the country extremely difficult.
According to China Times, the upper limit that can be transferred from Chinese banks to foreign banks is only about US$50,000 per year per person. Transfers in excess of that amount require a complicated and cumbersome application and review process.
In order to circumvent such regulations and the high fees and taxes required by the Chinese banks and government, many enlist the services of illegal backdoor channels, often involving unscrupulous bank officials.
Contradicting the earlier reports, Chen claims that over the last several years of her work in China, her payment was remitted directly to her Taiwanese bank account. She says there is nothing of substance in the earlier reports.
However, questions still remain about the original source of information for the Mirror Media report. Apple Daily says that Chen's media agent was unavailable for comment on June 5.