Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post
The Taipei District Court yesterday found five people guilty of secretly videotaping an ex-politician having sex with her boyfriend and distributing the images. The criminal tribunal sentenced Kuo Yu-ling to four years and eight months in prison after she set up pinhole cameras at Chu Mei-fong’s residence and recorded her having sex with her married boyfriend, according to the ruling. The Taipei district prosecutor who indicted the five earlier this year requested that the court to hand down a four-year jail term for Kuo. Nonetheless, the district court added eight months to the sentence. It said that Chu had considered Kuo one of her close friends, but Kuo had used that trust to “intrude into the most private part of the victim’s life.” The court described Kuo as a “malicious convict” as she declined to hand the original videotape to the court, and added that she had done tremendous harm to Chu.
The court also said that the convict made every attempt to exculpate herself from the charge and showed no regret over what she had done, according to the ruling. Shen Rong, publisher of the weekly tabloid magazine Scoop, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. The court said that she had obtained the VCD from Kuo in an indirect way and asked a businessman to reproduce the footage, before she distributed the VCDs with copies of the magazine late last year. The court also handed down a 26-month jail term to Wei An, the key aide to the publisher, for cooperating with Shen in the distribution of the VCDs. Scoop’s editor-in-chief Wang Chia-nan and chief layout designer Wang Hsu-yun were sentenced to 10 months and six months in prison. The court, which viewed the footage in the video tape as pornographic content, said, “No one is allowed to distribute pornographic VCDs, even if they work for a magazine.” It said, “The three convicts should not be allowed to exculpate themselves from the charge by misinterpreting press freedom.” The court added that “The three convicts working for the magazine apparently realized that the mass media has a particular impact on the public. Nonetheless, they did not have the conscience that newsmen should possess.” The district prosecutor accused Shen Rong’s father, Shen Yeh, founder of the tabloid magazine, of distributing the VCDs when he indicted him. Shen Yeh, however, was found not guilty as the investigation by the court revealed that he had never been involved in the distribution of the VCDs. Hu Chung-lin, a businessman in charge of the production of the pornographic VCDs, was sentenced to six months in prison and was fined NT$30,000. The court confiscated a total of 5,308 VCDs from Hu’s factory and convenient stores. Nevertheless, pirated copies of the hourlong VCD later became popular in Chinese communities around the world. The case drew the public’s attention to Chu, who had served as a Taipei City Councilor and director of Hsinchu Cultural Affairs Bureau, and who was the ex-girlfriend of former Hsinchu mayor Tsai Jen-chien. Chu filed a lawsuit against Tsai and accused him of violating her privacy as he had cooperated with Kuo in secretly videotaping what she did in her bedroom. Nonetheless, Chu later withdrew the accusation after she decided to forgive Tsai. In response to the court decision, Kuo said that she would definitely appeal the case to the Taiwan High Court. With tears in her eyes, the convict said that “another person” had demanded that she set up the pinhole cameras in Chu’s residence. Nevertheless, she declined to tell the press that who the “another person” was. Wei An said he will have a discussion with his lawyer before deciding on whether he would appeal. Shen Rong refrained from commenting on the court decision. All the convicts have the right to appeal the case to the Taiwan High Court within 10 days after the district court hands down the ruling, according to Criminal Procedure Law.