Retired Taiwanese military officers under investigation over alleged spying activities

22-Oct-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Three retired Taiwanese military officers, including a major general, are under investigation in Taiwan over alleged spying activities involving mainland China, the Taipei District Prosecutor’s Office said.

It comes days after Beijing said it had cracked hundreds of espionage cases and caught many alleged Taiwanese spies in a special operation.

Three retired military officers have been questioned over “suspected violations of the national security and intelligence laws” in Taiwan. Photo: EPA-EFE

Three retired military officers have been questioned over “suspected violations of the national security and intelligence laws” in Taiwan. Photo: EPA-EFE

Taiwanese investigators searched the homes of the three retired officers on Tuesday and they were taken in for questioning, according to the prosecutor’s office.

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“We have questioned the three separately over suspected violations of the national security and intelligence laws,” a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said.

The two retired colonels from the Military Intelligence Bureau, identified by their surnames Chang and Chou, and a retired major general identified as Yueh are alleged to have met mainland Chinese national security officials sometimes together and sometimes separately during trips to the mainland between 2013 and 2018.

They are suspected of handing confidential documents to the mainland officials during those meetings, the prosecutor’s office said, without elaborating.

Under Taiwanese law, anyone found guilty of passing secret information to mainland China can be jailed for up to seven years.

The latest espionage allegations follow Chinese state media reports that authorities have uncovered hundreds of Taiwanese spy cases in an operation called “Thunder 2020″.

Four “confessions” by Taiwanese detained on the mainland were also aired in a three-part “Taiwanese spies” series on state broadcaster CCTV last week. The first, on October 11, was on Lee Meng-chu, who was accused of being a spy who had meddled in Hong Kong affairs. The report said Lee had used his phone to record video footage of military drills in Shenzhen Bay and was found carrying posters that were “anti-China and supported Hong Kong riots”. Lee was shown in prisonwear apologising for endangering Chinese national security with activities relating to Taiwanese independence and support for the protests in Hong Kong.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council called the report “malicious political sensationalism”, and warned Beijing to stop entrapping its citizens and fabricating crimes against them.

A second detained Taiwanese man appeared in part two of the CCTV series the next day, also supposedly confessing to espionage activities. Identified as Cheng Yu-chin, he previously taught at Charles University in the Czech Republic and was shown addressing accusations that he had engaged in Taiwanese independence activities and spied for Taiwanese intelligence agencies.

Cheng was said to have been an aide to former Democratic Progressive Party chair Cho Jung-tai and was accused of using a research institute he established in Prague as a cover to gain intelligence on China and of working to hurt Chinese diplomatic relations in Europe. Cho on his official Facebook account denied that Cheng was ever his assistant.

On October 13, the final part in the series focused on Tsai Chin-shu, chair of the Southern Taiwan Union of Cross-Strait Relations Association, and Shih Cheng-ping, a retired professor who used to work for National Taiwan Normal University. The state broadcaster said the two Taiwanese men had been found guilty by Chinese courts of spying for Taipei. Both men were shown “confessing” to collecting intelligence on mainland China for the Taiwanese authorities for years.

The state broadcaster also accused President Tsai Ing-wen and her government of increasing “independence activities and destroying peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” since she came to power in 2016.

Beijing sees Taiwan as part of its territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

Taipei has condemned Beijing over the reports, saying it fabricated the spy cases and had forced Taiwanese to make unfounded public confessions.



Category: Taiwan

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