Disgraced diplomat to be summoned for questioning


TAIPEI–A Taiwanese diplomat in the United States who pleaded guilty to foreign labor contracting charges will be summoned for questioning after she returns to Taiwan later this week, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said Tuesday.

But Jacqueline Liu, the former director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, will not be detained for questioning upon arriving at the airport, prosecutors said, because she was not “caught in the act” of committing a crime.

Liu was arrested last November by U.S. federal agents for allegedly overworking and underpaying two Filipino housekeepers.

A U.S. judge agreed on Jan. 27 to the terms of a plea agreement under which Liu was to be sentenced to time served and ordered to pay US$80,044 in restitution to the two Filipino housekeepers she abused before being deported.

Local prosecutors said that after Liu returns, they will go beyond the labor fraud charges and also look into whether the diplomat was involved in embezzling funds or other irregularities.

The prosecutors face a challenge in trying to bring a case against Liu because under Taiwan’s Criminal Code, Taiwanese nationals can only be prosecuted at home for more serious offenses committed overseas, such as sedition, treason, drug trafficking, graft, forgery, embezzlement, and other crimes that carry jail terms of more than three years.

If Liu’s case does not involve a felony or corruption or embezzlement, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office will decide not to prosecute her.

Taiwanese prosecutors have requested documents related to the U.S. indictment against Liu and the plea bargain agreement, and have obtained some of them.

Taiwan is expected to invoke a judicial mutual assistance agreement signed with the United States to also ask for court records related to Liu’s case.