Lieutenant Chien Ching-kuo (錢經國), indicted by Greater Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office for allegedly violating the Statute for Punishment of Betrayal of Military Secrets (妨害軍機治罪條例), will remain in custody after approval was granted in an ongoing investigation, Greater Kaohsiung District Court said on Thursday.
Chien, 40, allegedly came into contact with the Chinese Ministry of State Security via an introduction by a retired military officer — whose name was withheld, but who is currently under investigation — and was paid by China to provide military secrets, later joining the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and recruiting members for the party within Taiwan.
Chien has denied any wrongdoing in court.
The indictment said that Chien, to facilitate his travels and trading of secrets, founded a company in Greater Kaohsiung, and treated former colleagues and current enlisted men, along with their family members, to trips to Southeast Asia in a bid to lure them into to the party.
Chien had allegedly recruited 10 or more people from military backgrounds to join the CCP, with some allegedly leaking military secrets to China, the indictment said.
It added that Chien had allegedly brought classified data on the navy’s plans to send ships to protect fishermen off the coast of Somalia to Hong Kong to give to the Chinese.
The navy had considered sending ships to the Gulf of Aden to protect Taiwanese fishing boats after numerous incidents of Taiwanese boats being harassed or captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia. However, the plan fell through due to both internal and international political concerns, as well as logistical difficulties.
Chien’s alleged operation was bought to light in September, when the person in charge of the investigation suspected Chien might be traveling to China to hand over military secrets and asked for a warrant to search his residence.
The Greater Kaohsiung Prosecutors’ Office and the military searched Chien’s residence before arresting him, with evidence found there allegedly implicating two other people: the navy’s former Meteorological and Oceanographic Office’s Political Warfare division chief, Commander Chang Chih-hsin (張祉鑫) and former Navy Fleet Command Headquarters Staff Lieutenant Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who shares the same name as the former president.
The Ministry of National Defense charged all three with spying and accepting bribes.
It is still looking into whether Chien leaked confidential secrets on Taiwan’s submarine force.
The Greater Kaohisung District Court approved a request to detain Chien and suspend his visiting rights on the grounds that he had attempted to fabricate his testimony and flee the country.
Additional reporting by Pao Chien-hsin