MOFA set to conduct investigation of alleged affairs between officials

Taipei, Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said that it will launch a thorough probe over an allegation raised by a local magazine yesterday that accused a MOFA official of having affairs with at least three married female colleagues.

MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao yesterday said the ministry has always asked its staff to "speak and act cautiously" as stipulated in Article 5 of the Public Functionary Service Act .

The ministry will probe the accusation raised by the magazine and will deal with the case accordingly if probe results find the persons involved have indeed violated the act, Kao said.

Citing unnamed sources, the Chinese-language Next Magazine yesterday said a MOFA official surnamed Chen has been accused of having romantic relationships with at least three married female diplomats.

The 51-year-old diplomat already has a longtime girlfriend, it said.

Chen also reportedly sent half-nude photographs and text messages to harass a married judicial officer, the magazine said.

Several diplomats have reported Chen's misconduct to the ministry but instead of launching probes, the ministry has reassigned Chen, who was originally working at MOFA's headquarters in Taipei, to overseas post in Philippines, the report said.

Asked to comment, Kao yesterday stressed that the ministry will soon launch probes to confirm the accusation.

The ministry will levy punishment accordingly if the investigation ultimately confirms the accusation, she said.

The ministry continues to urge all MOFA staff to follow related regulations, she added.

Article 5 of the Public Functionary Service Act stipulates that a public servant should be honest and uphold his or her integrity and should not engage in activities that could lead to the damage of reputation.