Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Two sentenced for leaking classified information during survey ship deal

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former navy captain Liu Shu (劉樞) was sentenced to a year in jail by the Taiwan High Court yesterday for leaking classified military information.

Liu's co-worker, former navy commander Chang Chia-cheng (張家成), was sentenced to 22 months in jail.

Liu's case was related to the controversial Lafayette frigate scandal and former navy captain Yin Ching-feng's (尹清楓) murder. Yin was the head of the navy's Arms Acquisition Office. His body was found floating in the sea off the east coast of Taiwan on Dec. 9, 1993. His death prompted an investigation into irregularities surrounding the purchase of Lafayette-class frigates from France.

Back in 1993, while investigators were working on the scandal and Yin's murder, they accidentally discovered that Liu, who was in charge of the bid for the purchase of the navy's survey ships, allegedly leaked classified military information to the arms sellers in return for kickbacks from the deal.

In 2001, a previous verdict by the Taiwan High Court ruled in favor for Liu and Chang, deciding that they were innocent because the evidence that prosecutors collected showed that Liu and Chang only gave the arms dealers a bare-bones list of items that Taiwan intended to purchase, and did not hand over any details.

Yesterday's verdict came after the high court reheard the case.

According to the latest verdict, the court decided that the two were guilty, because the information that the defendants leaked was labeled "confidential" or "extremely confidential."

Liu used to work with Yin at the Navy General Headquarters in Taipei City. When Yin was murdered and the Lafayette frigate scandal surfaced, investigators noticed that Liu was also involved in a separate scandal from the purchase of survey ships that he was working on.

Investigators believe the Lafayette frigate deal included more than US$500 million in illegal commissions.

Investigators discovered that Yin was trying to collect evidence to protect himself once the scandal surfaced and that he might have been killed by the main beneficiaries of the kickbacks.

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