TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An Australian analyst has released screenshots of conversations involving a Chinese businessman claiming to represent the Kuomintang (KMT) who attempted 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)
On 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 Wang into making a false confession implicating the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in an attempt to sway the Taiwanese election.
During a press conference at noon on Jan 9., Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) confirmed that Australian police had sought to verify Tsai's identity by contacting the judicial unit earlier that month and that relevant information and assistance had been provided, reported Up Media.
Alex Joske, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, on Jan. 10 released a trove of screenshots of conversations between Sun and Wang on Twitter. The screenshots from WeChat show Sun claiming to be "entrusted by the Kuomintang" along with Sun's conversation with Tsai and the script for Wang's false confession.
In the first screenshot, Sun says that he is contacting Wang on the behalf of the KMT. He asks when he can have a video chat with him, and Wang says he can do so the next day.
The second set of screengrabs includes the script that Tsai wishes Wang to read:
"At first, I just wanted to make up a spy story as a means to apply for political asylum in Australia. Later, the DPP appointed Mr. Chiu I-jen to meet with me in Australia and ask me to dislose through the media that I have been involved in meddling in Taiwan's election with an internet army since 2017. I did not actually provide 20 million yuan in political donations to Han Kuo-yu in Taiwan's nine-in-one elections in 2018 and the presidential election in 2020. This person promised that after the completion of the 2020 presidential election in Taiwan, the DPP would give me a large sum of money and make arrangementents for me to apply for political asylum in Australia or settle down in Taiwan."
As for Xiang Xin [China Innovation Investment Ltd. CEO], we only met as ordinary friends once or twice. The reason why I induced the Xiang couple into espionage is because they only associate with the richest people with the highest social status. In order to make the spy story perfect, I made up a lie that the Xiang couple are my online spies. I would like to apologize to the president and family."
In the third set of images, Sun shares a conversation with Tsai in which he lists the three inducements Wang will supposedly receive if he recants his story. The incentives included the following:
"China will rescind his arrest warrant and not interfere with his overseas residence."
"There will be a Taiwanese businessman who will pay off his debts so as not to embarrass his older sister and parents."
"Allow China to gently resolve his legal problems and allow him to freely come and go from China."
WeChat messages from Sun Tianqun to Wang Liqiang: "I have been entrusted by the Kuomintang" 孫天群跟王立強的微信簡訊：“我受國民黨委託” pic.twitter.com/fXQbnSlych— Alex Joske (@alexjoske) January 10, 2020
Later, Sun Tianqun sends Wang a screenshot of his conversation with Tsai. Then Sun sends Wang a scripted statement. 孫天群把他跟蔡正元對話的截圖發給王立強，然後孫把他寫的聲明稿發給王。 pic.twitter.com/QG6V8r57Tg— Alex Joske (@alexjoske) January 10, 2020
Here is the screenshot Sun sent Wang. Tsai says he agrees to have the mainland rescind Wang's arrest warrant, organise for Taiwanese businessmen to repay any of Wang's debts etc. 孫天群發給王的截圖。蔡正元承諾會讓大陸撤消對王的通緝，安排台商替他還清債務等等。 pic.twitter.com/KwCQabrk4C— Alex Joske (@alexjoske) January 10, 2020
Before last week's election, Tsai released what he claimed were recordings of Sun's call with Australian journalists and a video of his call with Wang. He denied threatening Wang and claimed the screenshots had been altered. In the early morning of Jan. 15, Tsai wrote on Facebook that making up a story about a fake spy to sway the election was a "liar's trick."
However, a high-level national security official told SET News that Tsai's statements sounded "suspicious." The official said it is difficult to verify whether any of these recordings or screenshots are authentic or have been altered.