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Taiwan Cabinet spokesperson resigns following corruption, prostitution allegations

Chen Tsung-yen announces decision but denies accusations, decries ‘erasure of dignity’

Cabinet Spokesperson Chen Tsung-yen. 

Cabinet Spokesperson Chen Tsung-yen.  (CNA photo)

UPDATE: 17 02 23: 10:05 p.m.: CNA reported that Cabinet Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺) responded to the issue of Chen Tsung-yen's resignation. He cited Chen Tsung-yen as saying that though he had clarified his personal matters, he had caused trouble for the administration, which was why he resigned.

Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) has approved Chen Tsung-yen's resignation and reinstated Minister without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) as the Cabinet's spokesperson.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Cabinet Spokesperson Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) on Friday evening (Feb. 17) announced he would resign from his post following Legislator Chen Wan-hui’s (陳琬惠) allegations that he “regularly solicits prostitutes.”

At a press conference, Chen Wan-hui showed screenshots of an individual's conversations with a user named “Chen Tsung-yen.” She claimed the screenshots came from a man named Wang Hsiao-wei (王孝瑋), who was reportedly involved in the prostitution business.

In the screenshots, the user asks “Chen Tsung-yen” to help shorten the processing time for a business registration. “Chen Tsung-yen” then asks the user, “Is Yun (芸, a character commonly found in women’s names) available?”

When the user answers that Yun is not available, “Chen Tsung-yen” arranges to meet with someone “similar.”

Chen Wan-hui alleged that Chen Tsung-yen was in close contact with Wang and accepted sexual services in exchange for favors while serving in the Tainan City Government 11 years ago. She cited “available information” as saying while visiting a hostess club in Tainan, Chen Tsung-yen had “taken a lady with him out of the venue” (common phrase in Chinese implying prostitution).

She said Wang had arranged to cover Chen Tsung-yen’s “bill for coffee” and told employees to record the transaction with the title, “Boss Chen” (陳董). In Taiwan, going out for “tea” or “coffee” refers to prostitution.

Chen Wan-hui showed another image of a document submitted for approval at the Tainan District Prosecutors Office. The subject of the document read, “Chen Tsung-yen and Wang Hsiao-wei’s violation of the Anti-Corruption Act.”

Shortly following Chen Wan-hui’s press conference, Chen Tsung-yen held his own press conference to deny the allegations. Business Today reported Chen as saying while serving in the Tainan City Government, he had never been questioned or investigated by prosecutors, adding since becoming a public servant, he has always “abided by the law.”

He condemned the media company that first revealed the allegations for reporting unconfirmed stories and “erasing a person’s dignity.”

CNA reported that on Friday evening, Chen decided to resign from his position as Cabinet spokesperson.