Eighteen purported victims of an alleged scam operation, members of Taiwan Civil Government, denied being victims and emphasized the point by posing for a picture. Republic of China in-exile prosecutors in Taoyuan have complained in court these eighteen people and dozens more were duped by TCG founder Roger Lin and others with false claims about the group identity card and support from the United States. Lin died a week after the photo was taken and charges were dismissed leaving the prosecution allegations unanswered.
All eighteen supposed victims unequivocally deny being victims, with many saying they were harassed by the prosecution interrogators. Each of them proudly says any donations they made or fees they paid were entirely voluntary, cheerfully given, and not the result of any subterfuge or false claims. The “victims” continue to support the TCG goal of expulsion of the ROC from Taiwan with American assistance and remain active in the group, wearing their trademark black suits for the photo shoot.
The exiled Republic of China was imposed on Taiwan, or Formosa as it was then called, after World War II by the United States. Formosa, a Japanese territory, was occupied by the ROC to provide Chiang Kai-shek with a refuge in case his Kuomintang regime lost the Chinese civil war with the Communists. In 1949, after his defeat, Chiang set up his exiled government with the support of the United States as allies in the Cold War.
Formosa’s sovereignty was not resolved at the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty leaving island residents a stateless people under the control of the ROC as an occupation government. Japan gave up claim to Formosa as a term of surrender. The “strategic ambiguity” of Taiwan’s sovereignty has thus far kept the People’s Republic of China from invading to capture the island. The longstanding ambiguity has created mass confusion and a splintered plethora of anti-ROC political parties and organizations seeking to liberate Taiwan from its “political purgatory.”
Roger Lin founded Taiwan Civil Government in 2008 which has become one of the most vocal and well funded of the advocacy groups. Lin was under ROC investigation or surveillance since then. In 2009, Lin was hauled in for questioning during a treason investigation. In May 2018, Lin and five others were arrested for fraud, allegedly cheating TCG members out of their donations with false promises and claims.
The October death of Roger Lin has left widow Julian Lin and “Prime Minister” Tsai Tsai Yuan the two main defendants. Prosecutors have said they intend to go forward against the pair. Lin’s death has left a void in TCG leadership that both Julian Lin and Tsai Tsai Yuan want to fill, creating two factions. If the two cannot reconcile with each other a power struggle could split the group.
An unknown element at this time is the effect of the ongoing fraud prosecution on the leadership rift. The two defendants may draw closer together defending against the government crack down. Or, depending on future testimony, the two may draw apart as they each deny culpability.
The eighteen so-called victims are not likely to be called by the prosecution as witnesses despite being named as such in court documents. The defendants do not get a jury trial–the ROC doesn’t believe in the jury system–so they better hope the judge is paying close attention to the prosecution tactics.