The son of the founder of a party promoting unification with China has been indicted for his involvement in a scam that allegedly helped more than 1,000 Chinese nationals, including government officials, get visas to Taiwan, prosecutors said Friday.
The son, Chang Wei (??), his wife Wang Shu-ying (???), a retired reporter surnamed Hung (?) and seven others were indicted on charges of helping Chinese nationals enter Taiwan illegally from January 2017 to June 2019, and doing so with the purpose of making a profit, according to Taipei prosecutors.
If convicted, they could face a sentence of between three and 10 years in jail and an additional fine of up to NT$5 million (US$179,600) based on provisions in the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.
The suspects also face charges related to falsifying documents, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said.
Chang's father, Chang An-le (???), who founded the China Unification Promotion Party and has been a vocal advocate of unification with China, was questioned by prosecutors in the case at one point, but did not figure in the indictments.
The elder Chang, known as the "White Wolf," reportedly headed the Bamboo Union, one of Taiwan's biggest criminal gangs, before fleeing to China in the late 1990s to avoid prosecution. He returned in 2013, and has pushed for unification with China since.
In its investigation, the prosecutors office found that Chang's son and the other suspects helped more than 1,000 Chinese nationals secure visas through Huaxia Dadi Travel Service Co., founded by Chang Wei, and other local travel agencies.
The travel agencies had civil associations set up by Hung and his family members issue fake invitations and short-term exchange documents for Chinese visa applicants and used them to apply for visas from the National Immigration Agency.
The established associations "invited" the Chinese nationals to visit Taiwan for religious, business and cultural purposes, according to prosecutors.
Once the visas were granted, the travel agencies involved paid the associations headed by Hung and his family members about NT$2,000 for each visa.
Prosecutors said that among the Chinese nationals who gained entry were officials from departments promoting China's United Front strategy to influence people in Taiwan and advance Beijing's interests.
The prosecutors office first went after the scam ring in December 2019, when it searched the premises of some of the associations and travel agencies and brought in Hung and three people in charge of the travel agencies for questioning.
They were later released on NT$250,000 bail.
During the same month, prosecutors raided six travel agencies, including Huaxia Dadi Travel and questioned Chang Wei's wife and 13 others. His wife was released on bail of NT$250,000.
Prosecutors also summoned Chang An-le as a witness in the case but he was released without having to post bail.
In January 2020, Chang Wei was summoned for questioning but freed on NT$30,000 bail, according to the prosecutors office.
Chang and the other suspects made about NT$3 million in illegal income from the scam, prosecutors allege.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel