Taiwan police investigate student for false allegations about presidential official

Student wrongly identified politician in photo as smuggling suspect

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Presidential Secretary General Chen Chu (left) with President Tsai Ing-wen in an archive photo.

Presidential Secretary General Chen Chu (left) with President Tsai Ing-wen in an archive photo. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Police are investigating a student for making false allegations about a link between the top suspect in the recent cigarette smuggling scandal and Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊), reports said Saturday (July 27).

Two agents of the National Security Bureau (NSB) have been detained for using presidential overseas trips as a cover to smuggle thousands of cartons of cigarettes into the country. After allegations surfaced online describing one of the two agents as a confidant of Chen, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) launched an investigation and found they had originated with a student at a university in Chiayi County, the Central News Agency reported.

On Friday (July 26), the CIB questioned the student, who explained that during a journey home to Hualien, he had discovered a picture online which apparently showed Chen with the smuggling suspect. He had then posted it online with a comment alleging the link between the two.

However, the man in the picture turned out to be a local politician in Kaohsiung, where Chen was serving as mayor in 2010 when the photo was taken, CNA reported. The student had never made an effort to check the identity of the man in the picture and had just assumed he was the NSB agent, immediately posting it online with the erroneous comment, the CIB said.

The Hualien District Court would deal with the matter as a violation of the law on the maintenance of social order, according to the CNA report.