Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Reporter's conviction gets upheld by the High Court

MILITARY SECRETS Hung Tsi-cheng was accused of endangering national security by reporting on Chinese vessels' maneuvers off Taiwan's eastern coast

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Senior military affairs reporter Hung Tsi-cheng (洪哲政) yesterday said that he will appeal the Taiwan High Court's upholding of his conviction on charges of breaching national security.

In its verdict yesterday the High Court, however, reduced Hung's sentence from 18 months awarded by the district court to 12 months, suspended for three years.

If Hung is not convicted of another crime in the next three years the charge and the sentence will be dropped.

Hung, however, said he would use his right to appeal the conviction to the Supreme Court.

"I am deeply disappointed indeed. After I explained so much and assured judges that it was impossible for me to leak any classified information with my stories, they still decided not to believe me."

"I will keep appealing to claim my innocence," Hung said.

Hung, who is now working for the Chinese-language newspaper Taiwan Daily News, was indicted for his stories published in another Chinese-language newspaper Power Evening News regarding the 16th Hankuang military exercise in 2000.

Hung was indicted for violating the Statute for Punishment of Betrayal of Military Secrets (妨害軍機治罪條例) by Taiwan High Court Prosecutor Lee Chin-ding (李金定) in September in 2002.

He has never admitted to the offence he was charged with.

The two articles, published on May 19 and July 29, 2000 were about the sighting of three Chinese military survey vessels off Taiwan's eastern coast two days before the May 20 presidential inauguration.

They were considered by the military to have compromised national security.

Former army major Liu Chih-chung (劉持中), who attended the Political Warfare College with Hung, was taken into custody by military police on Aug. 31 on charges of leaking secrets to Hung.

Liu was also charged of breaching national security and was sentenced to 26 months in jail by a military court. He completed his sentence in 2002, retired from the army and is now working for a private firm in the computer sector.

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