Amendments to the National Security Act (國家安全法) that impose higher sentences and fines on people spying for China or other nations, and increase restrictions on retired officials visiting China were yesterday passed by the legislature.
Those found recruiting others in Taiwan under instructions from the Chinese government would be subject to at least seven years in prison and a fine of up to NT$100 million (US$3.19 million) under the amendments.
Those conducting espionage by using the Internet would also be subject to the new penalties.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
People employed by the military, the civil service, state-run enterprises or public-school teachers who are convicted for contravening the act would lose their pension, while those who have already retired and have received pension benefits would be required to return all the funds paid up to the date of their conviction.
Supplementary resolutions on the issues of how to define China, Macau and Hong Kong within the rubric of “hostile foreign forces,” and how to determine whether disseminated communications from people from those regions or other nations constitute a national threat are to be determined during the next legislative session, the Democratic Progressive Party and New Power Party caucuses said.
Those issues would be addressed through amendments to the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), as well as the relevant communications laws, they said.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday morning called a cross-caucus meeting to discuss amendments to Articles 2-1 and 5-1, and the additions of Articles 2-2 and 5-2 to the National Security Act.
The biggest developments that came out of the three-hour meeting were the increase in fines and imprison sentences specified in Article 5-1 and the way China, which is considered the greatest threat to national security, is defined in Article 2-1, legislators said.
The amended law would target those found establishing, financially supporting or directing organizations for the interests of a foreign power, they said.
It would also target those found probing, leaking or transmitting documents, images, electronic files or other items related to national security, they added.
Those found guilty of the above offenses specifically to help the Chinese government would face a minimum of seven years in prison and a fine of between NT$50 million and NT$100 million, while those guilty of helping the governments of other nations would by subject to between three and 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of NT$30 million, they said, adding that attempted offenses would also be punishable under the amended act.
Those who admit to committing the offenses would receive lighter sentences or exemptions, they said.
All proceeds paid to collaborators by foreign governments would be confiscated, they said.
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen