Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Alleged Taiwanese spies seek answers over `betrayal'


Two Taiwanese businessmen recently released from a Chinese jail after serving sentences for espionage yesterday demanded that the Ministry of National Defense release the names of high-ranking military officials who allegedly betrayed them.

The ministry refused to comment on the claims.

Cheng Chih-yuan (鄭熾遠) and Sung Hsiao-lien (宋孝廉) were jailed by the Chinese government for espionage in December 2003.

The two went to the ministry yesterday, accompanied by their lawyers, to demand an explanation.

Cheng said the ministry had first established contact with them under the guise of a magazine publishing company. He said he and Sung were first asked to collect information on the real estate investment environment in China, which the ministry said would be used to help Taiwanese businessmen doing business there.

When the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) revealed its identity and asked the two to collect information on Chinese military bases, the two refused because they did not think they could carry out the mission. The men said they were thrown in jail shortly afterwards.

They began to suspect they had been betrayed by Taiwanese officials when, during interrogations, Chinese officials showed them detailed evidence of their conversations with the MIB, Cheng said.

The bureau said last night that the men had falsely accused it. The bureau said the men and their families were fully compensated by the government after their identities were exposed.

The bureau said the pair had worked as informants, but that it takes every possible measure to prevent information leaks.

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