‘Tarot-reader’ impostor held for forgery

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy who caused a media sensation by claiming to dupe former President Chen Shui-bian and charged him with forgery. Agents of the Criminal Investigation Bureau tracked down the teenager who called himself Huang Chi at a Xintian motel Friday night but released him early yesterday morning after questioning him overnight. Huang, who claimed to receive President Chen at his office on Roosevelt Road to read his fortune, was not arraigned before Taipei district prosecutors, however. He was accused of forging a British university diploma, with which to claim he has research made in divination. “We referred him for prosecution,” a CIB spokesman said.

Prosecutors may choose to drop the case, because Huang is a minor. The boy started the sensation after appearing on TV to boast about his scam targeting the former president, who admitted he had visited Huang’s office. Kuomintang lawmaker Chiu Yi, who also met Huang to confirm Chen’s visit, told reporters the ex-president drew the “Death” card at the teenage impostor’s fortune-telling office. But CIB investigators said Huang claimed Chen drew the “Chariot” card during the tarot-reading. “It’s not the Death card President Chen drew,” Huang was quoted as telling his investigators. “He drew the ‘Chariot’ card.’” Unlike the “Death” card, which predicts disaster or death, the “Chariot,” the ninth tarot card promises diligence, honesty and perseverance shall overcome the most insurmountable obstacles. President Chen denied he had a tarot-reading session with Huang. He said he was at Huang’s office to meet three Tibetan lamas. Media had a field day with the case by quoting the Kuomintang legislator as claiming Chen, now battling corruption allegations, was in tears after receiving the worst possible tarot reading. Chen, under investigation for involvement in a multimillion-dollar money laundering scandal, took to the streets with Democratic Progressive Party supporters to protest against President Ma Ying-jeou’s subservient China policy yesterday afternoon. Investigators released Huang to his maternal uncle, for they could not locate his parents. The boy refused to tell police who his parents are. Asked repeatedly for the identification of his father, Huang replied only, “I’ve forgotten.”