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IP addresses of hate remarks traced to China: Taiwan police

2019/05/23 11:42:40

Image for illustrative purposes only / Image taken from Pixabay.

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) The IP addresses of many hate comments posted recently by Internet users against politicians and political critics in Taiwan have been found to be located in Asia, particularly China, police said Wednesday.

Police said they found almost all of the initial IP addresses used by the attackers were in China after receiving reports from several public figures that they have been subjected to hateful remarks flooding their Facebook or YouTube accounts for comments they have made related to popular Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

Huang Kuang-chin (黃光芹), a political critic, made a report of receiving death threats online to New Taipei police after she asked Han in a radio interview in March whether he would run for president in 2020, given that he has only been Kaohsiung's mayor since late December.

Han responded that he is not considering a presidential run in 2020 at the moment, and indicated that he will serve his full four-year term as mayor. But Huang's questioning angered some Han fans, who raged that she was putting him on the spot.

Demanding that Han calm what she described as his "fanatical" supporters, Huang reported the offensive messages to the police, claiming that some netizens had threatened to kill her son.

The safety of the family of KMT lawmaker Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) was also threatened after a barrage of comments flooded his Facebook page blasting him for saying that "most of Han's supporters are not rational."

Facing a similar situation are Kaohsiung City councilors Chien Huan-tsung (簡煥宗) and Cheng Meng-ju (鄭孟洳), whose Facebook pages were also spammed with hate comments against them after they questioned Han during an interpellation session at the Kaohsiung City Council in early May.

According to police, the account of one Facebook user named Cheng Hui-wen (程惠雯) who threatened Huang and Chiang was a false account with an IP address that was traced to China.

At the same time, the IP addresses of another two netizens involved in the attacks on Chien were outside Taiwan. One of the trolls was suspected to be a Chinese-Malaysian, while the other was probably in China, as he or she used simplified Chinese characters.

Although the initial investigation found that many of those making the verbal attacks on social media were located in China, police admitted that it is very difficult to ascertain their true identities.

Police said they will suggest to the relevant authorities that should their real identities be determined, they should be banned from entering Taiwan.

As the January presidential election approaches, police urged Taiwan's public to stay vigilant and not fall into the trap of listening to anonymous Internet users using social media with the intention of dividing Taiwan.

Police also said they are seeking to cooperate with Facebook so that Taiwan-based users who make threats in public can be indicted by prosecutors and have their accounts suspended.

(By Flor Wang and Huang Li-yun)