Political sex video scandal in Taiwan court
TAIPEI, Taiwan (Reuters) -- Taiwan prosecutors have charged a former mayor with invading his estranged girlfriend's privacy by secretly filming her making love in the island's most gripping sex scandal.
Chu Mei-feng, 35, a TV reporter-turned politician, became one of the best known women in the Chinese speaking world after a tabloid magazine gave away video discs showing her having sex with a married man at her home.
Prosecutors called for Tsai Jen-chien, 49, former mayor of the northern high-tech city of Hsinchu, to be jailed for a year on charges of violating the island's privacy law and indicted a friend of Chu, who helped him install the hidden camera.
They also indicted the editor of the magazine that gave away the video discs.
"Kuo Yu-ling and Tsai Jen-chien were (Chu's) most trusted friend and lover. But they monitored her most private love life after their relations soured," the prosecutor said.
"It's the most serious offence against privacy," Chen said.
'Right to know'
Chu's close friend, Kuo Yu-ling, 44, installed the hidden camera with Tsai's help, prosecutor Chen Hon-da told a news conference, which was broadcast live by several cable news networks.
The prosecutor said an envious Kuo needed money to send her daughter to school abroad and sold the footage to a tabloid magazine, which mass-produced the sex videos and gave them away free to readers.
Kuo was charged with violating the privacy law, undermining public morality, theft and forgery and Scoop magazine president Shen Yeh was charged with violating the privacy law.
Prosecutors sought a four-year sentence for Kuo, who is in court custody, and 26 months for Shen. His magazine has defended itself, arguing that the people have the right to know.
Prosecutors also found eavesdropping devices and surveillance cameras in Chu's car and office. Tsai had appointed Chu director of Hsinchu's municipal department of cultural affairs.
Golden boy, Jade girl
Tsai, who had been questioned by prosecutors but not detained, denied any involvement in videotaping Chu, his lawyer told reporters after the indictment. The magazine said it did nothing wrong.
In Taiwan, defendants are not necessarily taken into custody until after a judge delivers a guilty verdict.
Tsai, a member of President Chen Shui-bian's independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, lost a re-election bid in last December's mayoral elections.
His affair with Chu, of the tiny pro-reunification New Party, had been the talk of town.
The couple was once touted as the "golden boy and jade girl" of Taiwan politics.
The cabinet's Government Information Office seized thousands of copies of the magazine and accompanying VCDs.
The Chinese-language weekly has called the seizure "preposterous" and said the discs were not pornography but a move to "restore the face of the truth."
Despite the seizure, pirated VCDs have been widely circulated in Taiwan, China and the United States.
Chu did not deny she was the woman in the VCDs and has apologised to the public.
She was not available for comment after the indictment, but told reporters late on Wednesday after a vacation in Thailand that she wanted to do more good in the future.
"If the society will accept me again, I want to do more good deeds," the Central News Agency quoted Chu as saying.
Chu's new book revealing her relationships with several men, including Tsai, will soon hit local bookshelves.
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