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ELECTION 2024/Taipei prosecutors indict 7 in Terry Gou signature-buying case

03/05/2024 05:52 PM
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Taipei District Prosecutors Office. CNA file photo
Taipei District Prosecutors Office. CNA file photo

Taipei, March 5 (CNA) Taipei prosecutors on Tuesday indicted seven people for stealing ID numbers from e-commerce sites to help business tycoon Terry Gou's (郭台銘) presidential petition drive last year.

According to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, the indicted individuals were involved in the trade of national identification numbers to fabricate petitions to fill the quota for Gou when the founder of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. sought an independent presidential bid for the Jan. 13 election this year.

The indictment issued by the office indicated that a man surnamed Yu (余) and a woman surnamed Hsu (許) were contacted on the encrypted instant messaging software Telegram by two individuals with the internet handles "CK" and "Bao."

The anonymous duo instructed Hsu to procure the details of Taiwan's national identification card holders for NT$200 (US$6.33) each.

According to the indictment, Yu then provided 16,000 units of Tether coins, a cryptocurrency stablecoin, which amounted to around NT$480,000 to Hsu for the operation.

Hsu then used Telegram to purchase personal information and recruit co-conspirators to fabricate petitions.

At one point, a man surnamed Chen (陳) responded to Hsu's listing and sold the personal information of 49 people which he acquired from e-commerce sites, the method of which were undisclosed, for profit.

The indictment revealed that after 43 of the 49 identification numbers were successfully used to sign Gou's petition, Chen was given 279 Tether coins, worth approximately NT$8,370.

The case was brought to the attention of authorities after members of the general public reported the identity thefts, leading to the arrest of Yu and his alleged accomplices, prosecutors said.

Counting Yu, Hsu and Chen, Taipei prosecutors indicted seven people -- including four who are underage -- in total for various violations against Taiwan's laws, including the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act and the Personal Data Protection Act.

Additionally, prosecutors said the four underaged individuals involved with counterfeiting the petitions had been sent to juvenile court.

(By Hsieh Hsing-en and James Lo)

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