Taiwan admits for the first time that Chinese general Liu Liankun was one of its spies

Taiwan MIBThe government of Taiwan has acknowledged publicly for the first time that a Chinese major general, who was executed by Beijing in 1999 for espionage, was indeed one of its spies. The military officer was Liu Liankun, a logistician for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, who headed its Department of General Logistics. However, China arrested Liu for espionage in 1999, and accused him of having spied for Taiwan for five years, in exchange for money. At the time, Taiwan denied that Liu spied on its behalf and refused to acknowledge that it had any role in the major general’s alleged espionage activities.

According to his Chinese government accusers, Liu passed information to Taiwan during the so-called 1996 missile crisis —known in Taiwan as the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis. The crisis was prompted by a series of missile tests conducted by Beijing in the waters around the island of Taiwan. The crisis lasted several months, from July of 1995 to March of 1996. Many in Taiwan were convinced that China’s missile tests were the precursors of a military advance by Beijing, aimed at conquering the island one and for all. However, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense eventually issued a press statement saying it was aware that the Chinese missiles were not equipped with armed warheads. The information was correct, but it made China realize that Taiwan was receiving information from a highly placed source inside its military. After an extensive counterintelligence investigation, the Chinese arrested Liu and accused him of having spied for Taiwan in exchange for nearly $2 million in bribes. Liu was eventually executed by lethal injection in a Beijing prison. He was 58. At the time of his conviction, Liu was the most senior Chinese military office to have ever been convicted of spying for Taiwan.

But Taiwan continued to deny any involvement in Liu’s case. That changed last week, however, when Taiwan’s Military Information Bureau unveiled its renovated memorial, which is housed at its headquarters in Taipei City. The memorial features plaques commemorating 75 individuals who have died while carrying out MIB intelligence operations. Those featured include both intelligence officers and their assets —foreign people recruited by intelligence officers to spy for Taiwan. Among the plaques, visitors to the memorial saw one dedicated to Liu for the first time. A note beneath the plaque acknowledges Liu’s contributions during the 1996 missile crisis. But it also states that the Chinese military official also provided assistance to Taiwan during earlier crises with China in the 1990s, as well as inside information about the death of Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping in 1997.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 6 April 2018 | Permalink

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China and Taiwan swap jailed spies in historic first

Ma Ying-jeou and Xi JinpingChina and Taiwan reportedly swapped each other’s imprisoned spies, just days before a historic meeting between their heads of government. It was the first time in the two nations’ history that they have swapped jailed spies with each other. The exchange appears to have taken place in secret in late October, less than two weeks ahead of a historic November 7 meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. The meeting, which took place in Singapore, was hailed for its historic significance, as it was the first of its kind since 1949, when the two countries emerged following a bitter civil war between communist and nationalist forces.

News of the spy exchange emerged in the Taiwanese press on Monday, when it was reported that Taipei had released Li Zhihao. Li, a mysterious Chinese intelligence officer known in spy circles as “the man in black”, had been arrested in 1999 after being lured into Taiwan, and was serving a life sentence. He is believed to be 70 years old. In return, Beijing appears to have freed Chu Kung-hsun and Hsu Chang-kuo, two colonels in Taiwan’s Military Information Bureau, who were arrested by mainland China’s counterintelligence nearly a decade ago. At the time of their arrest, the Taiwanese government protested that the two officers had been kidnapped from the Vietnamese side of the Chinese-Vietnamese border. But Beijing had dismissed Taipei’s protestations and had convicted the two men of espionage.

It is worth pointing out that the two Taiwanese officials had initially been sentenced to death, but their sentences were later commuted to 20 years behind bars. It is believed that they were the last Taiwanese military officials held in China for espionage, and that they were the highest-ranked Taiwanese spies imprisoned in China. Their release, therefore, marks an unprecedented development in Chinese-Taiwanese relations, though it should be remembered that dozens of Taiwanese civilians are held in Chinese jails on espionage charges.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 01 December 2015 | Permalink

News you may have missed #569

China & Taiwan

China & Taiwan

►►Taiwan begins to deal with its amateur spies caught by China. We have written before about the army of businessmen recruited by Taiwan’s Military Information Bureau (MIB). Many of these amateur spies were sent to collect intelligence in mainland China, often with minimal training or institutional support. Predictably, many were arrested, and dozens are believed to remain in China’s prisons today.
►►Egypt to try Israeli on espionage charges. And, no, it’s not Ilan Grapel, the American-Israeli who was arrested on espionage charges earlier this summer, and who is still in prison in Egypt. This case concerns another alleged Mossad operative, Ofir Herari, who has allegedly escaped and will be tried in absentia. Another man, Jordanian telecommunications engineer Bashar Ibrahim Abu Zeid, has been apprehended on charges of collaborating with Herari. He will be tried for “spying for a foreign country with the purpose of harming Egyptian national interests”.
►►Pakistan ‘gave China access’ to US copter used in bin Laden raid. According to a report in The New York Times, in the days after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s intelligence service “probably allowed” Chinese military engineers to examine the wreckage of a stealth American helicopter that crashed during the operation. This is the view of Read more of this post

Taiwan grapples with ‘largest military spy scandal in 20 years’

Taiwan

Taiwan

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Two Taiwanese double agents have been arrested in Taipei, in connection with what one newspaper editorial described as the most serious case of military espionage to hit the country in two decades. The two men, who have been charged with conspiracy to conduct espionage on behalf of a foreign power, were detained on Tuesday, after they were witnessed exchanging classified information at a busy outdoor location by Taiwanese counterintelligence agents. One of them, identified as Lo Chi-cheng, is allegedly a Colonel in Taiwan’s Military Information Bureau, the most powerful intelligence organization under Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. According to Taiwanese officials, he operated for several years as a procurer of classified military information on behalf of his unnamed co-conspirator, a Taiwanese businessman who is reportedly “linked to Taiwan’s intelligence network”. The unnamed businessman, who was also detained Tuesday, would then pass the classified information to a handler from Chinese intelligence. Read more of this post

Analysis: A detailed look into Taiwanese espionage on mainland China

Lin Yi-lin

Lin Yi-lin

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun has published the first part of a captivating two-part examination into Taiwanese espionage activities in China, authored by Tsuyoshi Nojima, the paper’s former Taipei bureau chief. In the article, Nojima highlights the cases of a number of former civilian agents of Taiwan’s Military Information Bureau (MIB), including that of Lin Yi-lin. The MIB recruited Lin in the late 1980s, during what has been called the modern heyday of Taiwanese intelligence activities in China. Taiwan spies had been active on the Chinese mainland for decades following the Chinese Civil War, but a nationwide counterintelligence crackdown by Beijing in the late 1970s virtually decimated Taiwan’s espionage networks inside China. It took nearly a decade for the MIB to reestablish its informant architecture on the mainland. By that time, the rapprochement between the two rival countries was beginning, with commercial ties rapidly accelerating. Read more of this post