Sat, Nov 15, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Hunt on for accomplices of freshly caught spies

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prosecutors were working feverishly yesterday to find out if two suspected spies arrested on Wednesday had any accomplices.

Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) official Chen Sui-chung (陳穗瓊), 55, and former MIB worker Tseng Chao-wen (曾昭文), 58, were arrested on Wednesday night after a 12-month investigation, the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office said.

"Taiwan High Court judges have approved a request by prosecutors to detain them. Currently, we are investigating whether there are any other spies," said Chen Chuwei (陳追), a Taiwan High Court Prosecutors' Office spokesman.

According to Chen Chuwei, suspicions were raised about the pair two years ago, and the Ministry of Justice's Bureau of Investigation has been gathering evidence against them for the past year.

The investigation uncovered a scheme in which the pair stole classified MIB information about Taiwanese spies working in China which Tseng would then fax to China from machines in convenience stores.

Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Tseng at a 7-Eleven on Jen-san Road in Keelung and Chen Sui-chung at his residence on Taipei's Yungchi Road.

The court spokesman said the two suspects had been very careful when committing their crimes.

"They knew that it would be more difficult to be tracked if they used public phones and fax machines at convenience stores," Chen Chuwei said. "One time, however, [Tseng] failed to destroy the evidence after a fax error. He just threw the piece of paper into a trash can."

Chen Chuwei said that the two suspects did not try to deny their actions when presented with evidence of what they had done.

However, they said they were working for Chinese academic research institutes rather than spying for the Chinese authorities, as investigators suspect. They insisted that the information they sold to their "Chinese clients" was available on the Internet.

Tseng had worked in the MIB's first department, which handled affairs unrelated to intelligence, before he left 15 years ago. Chen Sui-chung had no access to classified information at the MIB either, prosecutors said.

Because of this, it was unlikely they had up-to-date information on Taiwanese spies in China, they said.

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