Fri, Jul 05, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Authorities detain two for allegedly spying for China

PROFESSIONAL COVER:Prosecutors said that the duo used their engineering firm to secure contracts at restricted facilities, where they collected sensitive materials

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The exterior of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau is pictured in Taipei on June 21.

Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times

Authorities yesterday detained two contractors with restricted communications following an investigation by the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau over their alleged spying for China on military bases.

The two men, surnamed Chang (張) and Lin (林), in 2016 set up an engineering firm in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和), with Chang as the firm’s owner and Lin as his main business partner.

Following months of surveillance of the two men by the bureau’s national security division, raids were last month conducted at the firm and their residences, and they were taken in for questioning.

To prevent the duo from being tipped off about the impending raids, network jammers were used to disrupt their communications, the bureau said.

Citing sufficient evidence of espionage activities, the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office indicted Chang and Lin of offenses against the external security of the state under the National Security Act (國家安全法).

From 2016 to last year, the duo had bid on Ministry of National Defense public tenders and obtained numerous military contracts, accounting for at least 80 percent of the firm’s business, bureau officials said.

The contracts the company secured included supplying computers, network technology and telecommunications equipment; renovating barracks; and constructing security barriers at military bases, hospitals, the General Staff Headquarters’ Information, Communication and Electronic Warfare Command Center, and the command centers of the army and air force in New Taipei City, Yilan County and along the northern coast, official records showed.

Chang and Lin used their access to restricted military facilities to record information, gather materials and collect other useful military intelligence, which they passed on to their Chinese contacts, investigators said.

The evidence indicated that the two were recruited by Chinese intelligence officers to spy on military targets in exchange for financial rewards, prosecutors said, adding that it was likely the firm received materials and backing from China.

“It is known that China has been recruiting spies to infiltrate government facilities to collect secret materials, so we have undertaken major efforts to uncover and investigate such activities,” bureau Director-General Leu Wen-jong (呂文忠) said.

“Officers observed unusual behavior by the contractors working on military base projects and alerted their superiors. The investigation was initiated through collaboration between our security sections and bureau units,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

“We are facing pervasive infiltration and espionage by China, which has undermined national security. Military units must remain vigilant at all times by strictly adhering to military security and monitoring measures,” it said.

Chang and Lin also attempted to recruit military personnel to spy and pass on classified materials to China, prosecutors said.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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