Roger and Julian Lin, held incommunicado in a Taiwan jail in solitary confinement since their May 11 midnight arrest, finally get to hear the accusations against them. Leaders of Taiwan Civil Government, the Lin couple is accused of defrauding TCG members out of millions of dollars. Supporters say the pair are political prisoners for seeking to oust the occupying Republic of China in-exile. Washington insiders who accepted money from TCG for various publicity events, litigation, and lobbying will be awaiting the outcome of the September 13 preliminary hearing in Taiwan with more than a little curiosity.
Things look ominous for Roger Lin and five others arrested with him. In keeping with the harsh pretrial detention of the Lins, the preliminary hearing has strict rules. The hearing is to be held in a small courtroom limiting the public to eighteen seats and five for the news media. Entry to the courtroom itself requires a security pre-clearance with search and identification examination. The Lins are scheduled to appear at different times so apparently Roger and Julian will not even be able to see each other in court.
Another clue to trouble ahead for Lin was the inability to obtain bail or visitors. The ROC court did not elaborate on the incommunicado order denying the Lins any visitors but did refuse bail because prosecutor’s feared there was hidden money which could fund an escape from Taiwan. Further, in dicta, the court commented on a purported procedural error by the defense, either showing judicial bias or defense attorney incompetence depending on who was correct.
Initial news reports at the time of the midnight raid on TCG headquarters and homes accused the Lins of operating a massive Ponzi scheme and keeping large sums of money stashed in a cabinet The Ponzi talk has faded when purported details of the TCG scam began leaking out. Supposedly the fraud ring of top TCG officials tricked donors out of their money by making false claims of future United States assistance expelling the ROC from Taiwan.
Prosecutors have apparently ignored large sums of money spent by Taiwan Civil Government to influence the Trump Administration. TCG lobby efforts and spending were winning the group friends in high places in Washington. Julian Lin connected with Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway. However, TCG connections in Washington do not support the scam theme that ROC prosecutors are trying to prove and likely will not surface in court.
Although it is too early for Roger Lin to offer his defense, a recent statement by purportedly 250 of the 315 complainants gives a suggestion to future legal strategy. The statement, if accurate, claims that names were falsely used by prosecutors of TCG donors who do not consider themselves victims. The remaining sixty-five complainants are purportedly political operatives recruited by TCG opponents in the Democratic Progressive Party, disgruntled TCG members, or homeless persons paid to complain.
Public opinion has polarized around two views of Roger Lin as either a criminal mastermind or a political prisoner. Taiwan’s longstanding strategic ambiguity lies at the core of the case which has continued to hold interest on the island. Washington, on the other hand, lies a world apart from Taiwan where only insiders will be paying attention to events in a small courtroom far away.