Green Party Taiwan says man in court video scored only 59% facial similarity with Chinese spy

Green Party Taiwan says court video defendant received low facial similarity score of 59% with Chinese defector

(Image from Green Party Taiwan Facebook page)

(Image from Green Party Taiwan Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Green Party Taiwan says a man in a video purported to be self-proclaimed Chinese spy Wang "William" Liqiang (王立強) being convicted for fraud only has 59 percent similarity to the real person, based on China's own vaunted facial recognition software.

At 8:08 p.m. on Wednesday evening (Nov. 27), China's state-run mouthpiece the Global Times released a video on its Weibo page allegedly showing Wang being tried and convicted for fraud in a courtroom in Fujian Province's Guangze County for fraud in 2016. However, the video appears to be cut and spliced with the blurry face of the defendant appearing for only one second, causing suspicion among Taiwanese netizens.

At 10:52 p.m. that night, Taoyuan City Councilor and Green Party Taiwan member Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇) questioned the authenticity of the video by saying that such clips for ordinary criminal cases are not kept for that long. He questioned why the video had been specially archived given that the three-year-old case resulted in a light sentence of probation and there was no media attention at the time.

(Screenshot of Weibo video)

In addition, Wang used Tencent's Youtu facial recognition software, which has been hyped as the most technologically advanced in the world and officially owned by the Chinese government, to compare Wang's face on his ID card with the defendant in the video. The result was a comical 59 percent similarity, well below the bare minimum level of 70 percent, meaning it was a likely a completely different person.

The latest video appears to be an attempt by Communist China to prove its claim that Wang is a convicted "fraudster." After Australian media reported Wang's claim that he worked as a senior operative in Chinese intelligence services and defected to Australia on Saturday, (Nov. 23), the Chinese embassy in Australia the next day hastily responded by citing a statement from the Shanghai police saying that Wang was a convicted "fraudster."

China's Ministry of Public Security on its Wechat page then posted a link to a "criminal judgment" in a case involving a person identified as Wang Liqiang on the China Judgments Online website. However, a Wayback Machine search of Wang's case on Internet Archive yields a blank screen both for archives of the China Judgments Online website and the entire Internet.

Defendant (front, center). (Screenshot of Weibo video)

Meanwhile in Taiwan, after Wang had identified China Innovation Investment Ltd. (CIIL) CEO Xiang Xin (向心) as having recruited him as a spy, Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) agents arrested Xiang, his wife, and alternate board member Kung Ching (龔青) as they prepared to board a plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday evening. After questioning the couple twice already, investigators have found that the two had visited Taiwan on multiple occasions and spent hundreds of millions of Taiwan dollars purchasing two luxury apartment towers, which prosecutors suspect were used as a "bases" for their espionage operations.

Wang being interviewed by 60 Minutes. (Screenshot from 60 Minutes video)