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Lawmaker voices concern over national security failings

2019/01/18 18:30:56

DPP lawmaker Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政, right)

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) A lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) voiced concern Friday over possible security failings in the area around the Presidential Office, after a report appeared in a Hong Kong newspaper with pictures of a pro-Hong Kong independence student leader allegedly meeting with an "emissary" of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in Taipei earlier this month.

Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao (大公報) ran a front page story Wednesday, claiming that Tony Chung Han-lam (鍾翰林), a student leader of the pro-Hong Kong independence movement Studentlocalism (學生動源), met an "emissary" of Tsai to discuss an "independence plot" at Academia Historica in downtown Taipei.

Speaking at a news conference, DPP lawmaker Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) called the news report "groundless," but said it exposed security failures in the Bo'ai Special Zone near the Presidential Office, because apparently a reporter was able to secretly film a group of people without being challenged.

Although the report was false, Lo said such "lawless" behavior highlighted security lapses in an area of Taipei where security is supposed to be tight.

"How could this sort of stalking take place without being discovered in the Bo'ai Special Zone, which is closely monitored by plain-clothes agents and military police?" he asked.

Lo asked the Criminal Investigation Bureau and National Security Bureau (NSC) to determine why such behavior was not detected and whether there were any operational failings by security personnel.

"I'm afraid 'red terror' is occurring in Taiwan," he said.

The writer of the Ta Kung Pao report apparently used a pen name and as such the National Immigration Agency (NIA) has been unable to determine when he or she entered Taiwan, an NIA official said at the news conference.

In a statement issued Thursday night, the NSC said the "emissary" Ta Kung Pao mentioned was in fact a Taiwanese reporter and the rest of the report was fabricated.

According to the NSC, Lam and two acquaintances entered Taiwan Jan. 11 and left on Jan. 15.

As the case involves the issues of stalking and personal safety, the NSC said it will investigate further.

According to Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister and spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), 18 reporters from four Hong Kong and Macau-based media outlets have been approved to work in Taiwan, but no one from Ta Kung Pao.

Reporters from China, Hong Kong and Macau are not allowed to conduct activities incompatible with their visa status in Taiwan, and if those regulations are violated their entry permit can be revoked or they can be denied entry for one to three years, Chiu said.

(By Liu Kuan-ting and Flor Wang)