TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan is investigating two executives at a Hong Kong-listed company on suspicion of violating the National Security Act, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency said on Tuesday, after they were named in a report about Chinese meddling.
The company, China Innovation Investment Limited, said on Monday executive director Xiang Xin and alternate director Kung Ching had been stopped at Taipei’s main airport and asked to cooperate in a probe into Australian media reports about Chinese interference in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The allegations were made by a Chinese asylum seeker in Australia, Wang Liqiang, who said he was a Chinese spy. China says the man is a convicted fraudster.
Wang said he was part of an intelligence operation working within China Innovation Investment to infiltrate Hong Kong universities and media with pro-Communist Party operatives to counter the territory’s democracy movement.
The company said the reports were “fictitious and forged” and that Wang had never been an employee. Hong Kong has been rocked by months of anti-government protests.
Xiang and Kung were referred to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office on Monday night for “further investigation on suspicion of violating the National Security Act”, the Central News Agency said.
They have also been ordered not to leave Taiwan, the report said.
The company did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Tuesday. It said on Monday the two had retained Taiwan lawyers but it was not immediately clear who they were.
Wang had also given details about Chinese efforts to meddle in Taiwan’s political system and elections.
Taiwan, claimed by China as its sacred territory, is already on high alert for Chinese attempts at disinformation and intimidation ahead of Jan. 11 elections for the presidency and legislature.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)