The former head of Taiwan's Military Intelligence Bureau has been taken into custody for questioning in the scandal linking agency officers with the slaying of Daly City journalist Henry Liu, a government official said Thursday.
Vice Adm. Wang Hsi-ling, 57, director of the bureau since 1983, was relieved of his duties without explanation by the government on Tuesday, after it was announced that one of his deputies had been arrested for alleged involvement in the death of Chinese-American political writer Henry Liu, 52.
The government official, who spoke on condition he not be identified, said Wang had been taken into military custody but he declined to say when or where he was being held. Wang is the highest Taiwanese government official to be named as under investigation in the affair.
Col. Tso Fu-seng, deputy director of the Defense Ministry, declined comment on the report, saying Liu's death is still under investigation.
Authorities said a Wang deputy, Col. Chen Hu-men, 47, was implicated in the slaying, allegedly by two Taiwanese gangsters wanted by police in connection with the death. The two, Chen Chi-li and Wu Tung, are in custody in Taiwan. The government said "several others" also were being questioned.
Chen is the reputed leader of a Taiwan underworld group known as United Bamboo, which has chapters in the United States. A third member of the gang, Tung Kuei-sen, who is being investigated by U.S. authorities in connection with the killing, is still at large.
Liu, a Chinese-language journalist who had written articles critical of the Nationalist Chinese government in Taiwan, was gunned down Oct. 15 by two assailants in the garage of his home in Daly City.
Liu's wife, Helen, has called the killing a political assassination engineered by the Taiwan government.
Officials of the Foreign and Defense ministries held an emergency meeting to discuss the developing scandal, which has led to concern that the alleged involvement of Taiwan officials in a slaying in the United States might damage U.S.-Taiwan relations.
No statement was issued about the meeting.
Taiwan's relations with the United States were strained in 1982 when Chen Wen-chen, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, was found dead on a university campus in Taipei after being interrogated by members of the Garrison Command, Taiwan's chief security agency.
Taiwanese authorities said the professor, who had associated with anti-Nationalist dissidents in the United States, committed suicide. But dissidents claimed he was murdered.