Espionage suspect released on bail
Central News Agency
2014-02-11 10:57 AM
Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) A former CNA reporter suspected of trying to collect sensitive information for China was released on NT$200,000 (US$6,600) bail early Tuesday and banned from traveling overseas pending further investigations. The suspect, identified by the prosecution only by her surname Kuo, denied spying for China. As she was brought to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office for questioning late Monday, Kuo was asked by reporters whether or not she was a spy as depicted in reports on her arrest earlier in the day. "I am not," she replied. Prosecutors suspect the 41-year-old violated the National Security Act but did not feel it was necessary to ask the court that she be detained. Kuo was subsequently released on bail in the early hours of Tuesday and ordered to remain in Taiwan during the investigation. A businessman surnamed Chou was also questioned in relation to the case but was later released on his own recognizance. The former reporter is suspected of attempting to "buy intelligence" from a division chief at the Investigation Bureau under Taiwan's Ministry of Justice in 2007 on behalf of China, according to the prosecutors' office. Kuo offered a "bountiful reward" to the division chief but was turned down on the spot. The official then reported the incident to the authorities, according to the prosecutors and investigators handling the case. The authorities began monitoring Kuo's activities, but it was unclear why it took prosecutors more than six years to bring the suspect in for questioning. The information Kuo allegedly tried to obtain was said to be related to the activities of political parties in Taiwan. Prosecutors and investigators brought Kuo and Chou in for questioning after conducting a search in Kuo's home in Taipei and her parents' home in Taichung. Kuo has worked at several media outlets in Taiwan, including at the Central News Agency (CNA) from 2004 to 2011. CNA released a brief statement Monday acknowledging that Kuo was a former employee and stressing that her personal conduct and remarks outside of her professional duties had absolutely no connection to the news organization. CNA said it respects legal authorities' handling of the case. If convicted on charges of espionage, Kuo could face a sentence of up to five years and a fine of NT$10 million (US$330,000). (By Liu Shih-yi and Jay Chen)
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