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July 25, 2017

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Prosecutors fly to Fiji in bid to clear up scandal: report

By Joseph Yeh--Prosecutors have recently visited Fiji to question related witnesses to the alleged scandals surrounding Taiwan's former representative to the country, Victor Chin (秦日新), a Chinese-language newspaper report yesterday.

Chin, who is currently back in Taiwan under suspension and being investigated by the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, after he was accused of engaging in an extramarital affair with a Japanese diplomatic employee and misusing public funds last year.

The married ex-envoy allegedly had irregular relationships with Aiko Kurokawa, a former secretary at the Japanese embassy in the South Pacific Island nation.

Chin was also allegedly found to have used public funds to buy expensive items, including a necklace, as gifts for Kurokawa, even though he claimed that they were bought for wives of several high-ranking Fijian government officials, local media reports said.

According to the United Evening News report yesterday, the prosecutor responsible for Chin's case, surnamed Huang, and three other investigators have visited Taiwan's representative office in the South Pacific island country sometime before last Saturday's presidential and legislative elections.

They questioned more than 10 Taiwanese businessmen in Fiji who served as witnesses to the case in order to facilitate investigations and clear charges against Chin, the report said.

Their statements will serve as evidence in the case, it said.

The investigators had asked for assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the questionings took place at Taiwan's representative office in the country, it said.

Because of the sensitive timing of their trip, investigators had maintained a low profile.

When asked to confirm their investigations in Fiji, Huang refused to comment yesterday citing an ongoing criminal investigation as justification.

The MOFA said it does not comment on ongoing investigation.

Chin Denies Accusations

During previous investigations, Chin denied all the allegations, saying his contact with the Japanese woman was purely of a professional nature.

As to claims that he illegally applied for dependent benefits and education allowances for his children, Chin also denied any irregularities.

However, according to previous investigations conducted by a MOFA ad hoc committee that was responsible for a preliminary probe on its envoy, evidence showed that the married diplomat did used his allowance to buy four jewel necklaces and four high-end ball pens as gifts for a Fijian politicians.

Only three necklaces were ultimately sent to those politicians while one of them was never delivered to any politician.

Also, investigations show that Chin did receive more benefits and allowances from the MOFA than he was entitled to, the report said.

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