Taiwan exec apologizes but denies abuse
TAIPEI—A Taiwanese official suspended from her post on Friday apologized for hurting Taiwan’s image after she was deported by the United States over a maid abuse case.
“I regret and apologize that the incident caused the outside world to have a negative impression of (Taiwan’s) government and foreign ministry,” said Liu Hsien-hsien, ex-director of Taiwan’s mission in Kansas City, Missouri.
“However, the accusations that I abused the maids are untrue and I never pocketed any public funds,” she said in a statement.
Liu has been suspended pending a review by a top government watchdog in charge of disciplinary punishment of civil servants, the foreign ministry said.
The ministry said its own probe found Liu guilty of “severe administrative negligence” over the hiring of foreign maids although evidence was inconclusive on the abuse claims.
Liu was deported earlier this week after she pleaded guilty to charges of mistreating two Filipino housekeepers working in her Missouri home, according to the US Justice Department.
Liu was arrested in November for allegedly treating the Filipinas like slaves. She reached a plea deal with prosecutors that allowed her to avoid spending up to five years in prison on a charge of fraud in foreign labour contracting.
She was sentenced to time served on a fraud charge and was ordered to pay $80,044 in restitution to the housekeepers, as well as a fine of $11,040 to cover the full costs of her incarceration and deportation.
The case came to light after one of the housekeepers sought help from a Filipino she met at the grocery store.
She told him that Liu had taken away her passport, told her she was not allowed to leave the house without permission, made her work 16 to 18 hour days at a quarter of the agreed wages, monitored her with video surveillance cameras and restricted when she could sleep.
Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but has remained a key ally and a leading arms supplier to the island.