TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Kuomintang (KMT) official and Chinese official allegedly tried to bribe and intimidate self-proclaimed Chinese spy Wang "William" Liqiang (王立強) into making a false confession implicating the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in an attempt to sway the election that is set to take place in three days.
Wang said in a series of interviews with Australian media outlets in November that he engaged in espionage in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Australia, including infiltrating Taiwan's city elections of 2018 and the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Wang said he was hired by China Innovation Investment Ltd. (CIIL) CEO Xiang Xin (向心) as a spy.
On Wednesday (Jan. 8), The Age reported that Australian security agencies determined that Wang received the first of a series of attempted bribes and threats on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). Through a combination of inducements and threats, Wang was told to tape a false video confession in which he would retract his story and claim the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had offered him "a large sum of money."
According to the report, former legislator and current KMT party Deputy Secretary-General Alex Tsai (蔡正元) sent Wang text messages attempting to persuade him into recanting his story. One text message read, "If you take up the offer by the end of this month, everyone will help ensure you safely return to mainland China, and at the same time will help you resolve all your debts."
Another message read, "The KMT has agreed that they can let him freely settle in Taiwan." When contacted for comment by The Age, Tsai confirmed that he had been in direct contact with Wang but denied that he had tried to persuade him into changing his story or implicate the DPP in a corruption scandal.
On Dec. 17, Tsai accused Australian journalist Nick McKenzie of lying in his reports about Wang and asking for money from Taiwanese intelligence officers. "You are a liar, you cooked a fake story about Chinese spy Liqiang Wang in order to get money from Taiwan intelligence, you are truly a dirty reporter, or you do not deserve reporter as a career title, liar is a good title (for) you!” Tsai commented, following a tweet by McKenzie.
However, The Age was given access to text messages between Tsai and a Chinese businessman identified by the surname Sun. The messages referred to a script that Wang was to use in his false confession video.
Sun reportedly took a more menacing approach with Wang. He threatened to extradite him to China, have him killed, or punish his family in the communist country if he did not acquiesce, according to sources who spoke to the paper.
Part of Wang's "confession" script claimed that CIIL's Xiang Xin was "only an acquaintance I've met one or two times." Wang was then supposed to add that he had implicated Xiang and his wife because "he is the richest person and most high-status person I know."
Xiang was arrested by Taiwan's investigators on Nov. 24 while preparing to board a plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, along with his wife and alternate board member Kung Ching (龔青). The couple has been barred from leaving the country because of the continuing investigation.
Up Media reported that Sun's full name is Sun Tianqun (孫天群) and that he has a criminal record for fraud. The Age quoted Sun as saying he was a "close friend" of Xiang's, but he denied any connection with Tsai.