TAIPEI • A Taiwanese magazine says it has dug up the story of supermodel Chiling Lin's connection to a woman who is accused of running an international prostitution ring.
Lin was set up by the woman, Tai Chun-yi, to attend a dinner with a businessman in Las Vegas in 2005, but narrowly escaped under the escort of more than 20 gun-toting men summoned by a senior member of the Taiwan-based gang, the United Bamboo, said Want Weekly.
Lin had asked pop queen Faye Wong's former agent Chiu Li-kwan for help, and it was Chiu who, through her friends, got in touch with the United Bamboo's "Big Brother Shun", said the magazine.
Lin was named last week in a report that said Tai had A-list celebrities working for her.
The model has denied the story.
According to Want Weekly, Tai, acting with two gangs in the United States, had invited a group of Hong Kong and Taiwan entertainers, including Lin, to perform in Vegas. The model's agency was told actor Eric Tsang would be the top-billed star of the show.
Lin was informed that her assistant could not stay in the same hotel as her and she agreed to the arrangement reluctantly, thinking it was for cost reasons, said the magazine.
After she landed in Vegas, she was told there had been a change in the programme and she would have to attend a dinner with a VIP, followed by a one-on-one chat. She was scared and would not agree to the new arrangement and was threatened by Tai's criminal associates, said the weekly.
Luckily, Chiu and Big Brother Shun came to Lin's rescue.
This incident was recounted to Want Weekly by Taiwanese interior designer Eric Chia, the younger brother of Big Brother Shun.
It was Chinese New Year in 2005, and Big Brother Shun was on holiday with his family in Vegas when he heard from Chiu, Chia said. Through his network, Big Brother Shun got more than 20 men to rush to the hotel where Lin was to take her away.
Tai later had to go down on her knees to apologise and to sign a statement of repentance, Chia said. "Many Hong Kong and Taiwan stars, including Eric Tsang, knew about it," he added.
Chia said his brother had helped Lin voluntarily, adding: "We're all Taiwanese, we're supposed to help each other."
After the rescue, Lin stayed on for a performance. Chia said: "My brother and his 'brothers' followed her throughout to protect her, giving the other party no chance."
Speaking to the Hong Kong edition of Apple Daily on Wednesday, movie producer Tiffany Chen told her side of the story. She said she had been involved in the Vegas show with Tsang and actor Jordan Chan. One day, she got a call for help from Lin's manager, who had also called Chiu, better known as Big Sister Kwan.
Chen said: "In the end, Big Sister Kwan resolved the matter. Afterwards, Chiling Lin even helped me do a show as an award presenter."
The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said it was a Chinese tycoon who had tried to meet Lin through Tai. He also apologised, saying he had not known the middleman would try to imprison the model.
Reached by Want Weekly, Lin's agency said: "We have never known this person surnamed Tai and never come into contact with her. You should talk to the people who were there then." Chiu said: "I'm overseas, I don't want to answer such silly questions."
Tsang's assistant said she was unclear whether the actor had visited Vegas in 2005.
Chia's grandfather was a colonel and his father was an officer in charge of weapons development, said the Taiwan edition of Apple Daily. Chia's brother is now with an American technology company, said the newspaper.