Father of Justin Lee denies blackmail claims

Above: Justin Lee

TAIWAN - Justin Lee's father has denied that he has been blackmailed by a police officer over the son's date rape case, investigators said yesterday.

Apple Daily claimed in a report that the officer, surnamed Chen, from Taipei's criminal investigation department blackmailed the father, Lee Yueh-chang, threatening to leak his son's sex photos and videos to the public.

But Huang Chao-ming, head of the department, said they had already verified the report with the senior Lee, who replied that the alleged reports of blackmail never happened.

He also promised to come forward to clarify the allegations if necessary, Huang said.

Senior Taipei prosecutor Tai Tung-li was also cited by the Central News Agency as disclosing that Justin Lee's testimony concurred with his father's concerning the alleged blackmail.

Another senior Taipei prosecutor, Huang Mou-hsin, said the prosecution has opened a related probe into blackmail allegations concerning the case, but so far no specific suspects have been singled out.

The Apple Daily report claimed that the Lee family had been blackmailed by members of the criminal world and the police force who had obtained copies of the sex photos and videos.

According to the newspaper, the family had paid millions of Taiwan dollars before deciding that they had had enough and stopped paying the blackmailers in May this year.

Soon afterward, Justin's sex photos and videos were disseminated on the Internet.

Investigators then renewed a probe and when they came in to arrest Justin on July 31; but by then he had already gone into hiding. He surrendered to prosecutors on Thursday and was remanded into custody.

The newspaper claimed that the police officer who engaged in blackmail, surnamed Chen, actually alerted Justin Lee to the prosecutor's imminent action to allow him a chance to escape. But Huang, the head of Taipei's criminal investigation department, said Chen only met the younger Lee once on July 27, 2011 when the suspect was questioned over date rape charges.

Chen does not know Lee's father or other family members, and have never contacted any of them, Huang said.

It was impossible for Chen to alert the family about the prosecutors' action, Huang said.

He stressed that internal investigation has ruled out the possibility that the sex photos and videos were leaked from the police force. Prosecutors are investigating the leak, he added.

Prosecutors first investigated Lee last July in the wake of date rape charges brought against him by two women. They later closed the case without pressing charges after finding no substantial evidence.

But they reopened the probe following the dissemination of the sex photos on the Internet this summer.

Lee has denied all date rape charges. He has also claimed that he took the sex photos and videos with the women's permission.

Investigators reportedly discovered scores of explicit videos involving more than 40 women on a computer seized at his home.

Prosecutors have said they are looking to determine whether there are accomplices to the suspect's alleged crimes, and how many female victims there are.

The Justin Lee sex scandal
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