Australian police investigate Taiwan KMT official amid bribery allegations involving Chinese spy

Taiwan government confirms Australian police investigating KMT official amid allegations of bribing Chinese spy

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Alex Tsai at press conference. 

Alex Tsai at press conference.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Ministry of Justice (MOJ) official on Thursday (Jan. 9) confirmed that Australian police had sought to verify the identity of a Kuomintang (KMT) official for his alleged role in efforts to bribe and threaten a Chinese spy into recanting his story and implicate the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

On Wednesday (Jan. 8), The Age reported that KMT party Deputy Secretary General Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and a Chinese businessman identified as Sun Tianqun (孫天群) had 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 Taiwanese election set to take place on Saturday (Jan. 11).

During a press conference at noon on Thursday, Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) confirmed Australian police had sought to verify Tsai's identity by contacting the judicial unit in early January and that relevant information and assistance had been provided, reported Up Media.

Cheng made it clear that because Wang had reported to Australian police that he had been "threatened" and because he identified Tsai and Sun as having issued the threats, Australian authorities asked Taiwan's MOJ to confirm Tsai's identity through relevant cooperation channels.

Cheng said that at present, the Australian police have only inquired about information related to Tsai's identity to the judicial unit, but they have not yet made any other requests. Cheng added that the MOJ will provide further assistance if needed as Australian authorities continue the investigation.

According to The Age report, Australian security agencies determined that Wang received the first of a series of attempted bribes and threats from Tsai and Sun on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). 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."

However, at a press conference held by the KMT's Central Standing Committee on Thursday, Tsai refuted the allegations while claiming that Australians are the descendants of criminals. Tsai denied threatening Wang and said that he "spoke to Wang like a big brother in a very friendly way. I told him that because he had made a mistake, he should mend it," according to the report.