Taiwan arrests eight military officers for spying for China

China and TaiwanBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Authorities in Taiwan have announced the arrest at least eight current and former military officers on suspicion of conducting espionage on behalf of China. The eight are accused of leaking Taiwanese military secrets to Beijing, in a case that some Taiwanese legislators described yesterday as one of the most serious instances of espionage in the island’s history. According to official statements issued yesterday, the person in charge of the alleged spy ring appears to be Lieutenant Colonel Chang Chin-hsin, who until his retirement earlier this year was charge of political warfare at the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Office. Based outside of Taipei, METOC is in charge of producing mapping data for use by Taiwan’s naval forces, including cartographic manuals used by Taiwanese warships and submarines guarding the Taiwanese coastline. Taiwanese authorities allege that Chang “initiated contacts” with Chinese mainland officials while still serving in the Taiwanese Navy. Following his recruitment, Chang gradually enlisted several other members of the Taiwanese military by offering hefty monetary bribes in exchange for military secrets. Taipei authorities claim that they found out about Chang’s espionage activities in March of this year, and that Taiwan’s Military Prosecutors Office gathered evidence against him before he was able to seriously compromise national security. David Lo, a spokesman at Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, told journalists yesterday that, as a result of the early tip-off and related counterintelligence precautions, Chang had “limited access to sensitive information”. But this view seems incompatible with Chang’s apparent success in bribing seven other Taiwanese military officers, three of whom are said to hold relatively senior posts in the Taiwanese Navy. Meanwhile, Chinese government-owned media outlets issued denials from Beijing that it had anything to do with the Chang spy ring.  Regular intelNews readers will recall that two Taiwanese former officials were sent to prison last July for leaking state secrets to China.

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