The High Court on Tuesday gave retired air force Lieutenant Colonel Yuan Hsiao-feng (袁曉風) 12 life sentences for passing classified military information to China over a period of six years, adding to a list of spy cases to hit the nation in recent years.
A court official said yesterday that Yuan passed unspecified military secrets to China between 2001 and 2007 through Chen Wen-jen (陳文仁), a former colleague in the air force.
Using flash drives, Yuan and Chen are alleged to have provided classified information to China on 12 separate occasions. Yuan, who was deployed at an air force ground control unit, was found guilty on 12 counts of leaking secrets, each of which carries a mandatory life term, the court official said.
Photo: Yang Kuo-wen, Taipei Times
Yuan, who retired in 2007, was reportedly paid a total of NT$7.8 million (US$269,000) by China for his efforts, though the High Court would not confirm the figure.
Chen received a lighter sentence of 20 years imprisonment, as he had already retired from the military at the time the crimes were committed.
Chen, who retired as a lieutenant in 1992, was operating a business in China and had a Chinese spouse. He was recruited by the Second Department of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Headquarters, which is in charge of collecting military information. He is then believed to have recruited Yuan after returning to Taiwan and discovering that the latter was still in the air force.
The retired lieutenant is also believed to have collected intelligence on Taiwan’s combat aircraft with assistance from another officer.
Sources said that after retiring Yuan continued to seek access to intelligence through former colleagues.
The pair was detained last year after two junior colleagues they had tried to recruit in August 2011 reported the matter to the armed forces’ internal security, prompting a counter-intelligence probe.
The verdict can be appealed.
The case is one of many instances in which Chinese agents have recruited retired military officers of a certain rank who then rely on their connections with active officers in the armed forces to collect classified information.
The principal targets of Chinese intelligence collection in Taiwan are believed to be the “Po Sheng” C4ISR modernization effort, the Anyu-4 air defense system and the surveillance radar program, which revolves around the long-range early-warning radar on Leshan (樂山), Hsinchu County, which was launched on Friday.
In February last year, an information control officer assigned to an air defense base in northern Taipei, surnamed Chiang (蔣), was arrested in connection with another espionage case. Chiang’s uncle, who operated a business in China, was believed to have served as a conduit.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed that a rear admiral had come under investigation as part of an espionage case involving the possible leak of navy secrets. According to reports, Admiral Hsu Chung-hua (徐中華), commander of the 146th Attack Squadron based in Magong, Penghu, had been transferred from his position in connection with the case, which emerged last year after Lieutenant Colonel Chang Chih-hsin (張祉鑫), formerly a commander in charge of political warfare at the navy’s Naval Meteorology Oceanography Office, was arrested in a raid.
The 146th includes Chengkung-class frigates armed with the Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missile, among others. Analysts believe Chang’s actions may have compromised the operation of Taiwan’s submarines.
Also this week, the ministry announced that Army Major General Wu Chin-chun (吳金駿), reportedly a trusted aide to Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), had been temporarily reassigned as investigators look into a possible connection between a relative of Wu and the Chang case, which has been described as possibly one of the most damaging espionage cases in recent years.
In January 2011, the Supreme Military Court sentenced army general Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲) to life in prison for passing classified information to China since 2004 after being recruited in Thailand.
Additional reporting by Stacy Hsu and AFP
White-label cellphones manufactured in a Chinese factory are believed to contain Trojan software that enables fraudsters to set up mobile game accounts using the owners’ phone numbers, police said on Saturday, with nearly 100 older people affected so far. After receiving a number of complaints from local branches over the past few months, the National Police Agency launched an investigation into the mobile game points-for-cash scam. The fraudsters would pose as women online to persuade people to buy game point cards at supermarkets and load the points into accounts created with the cellphone users’ phone numbers before requesting cash refunds from the
‘UNAFRAID’: Most Taiwanese do not seem to be aware of the danger of war and might be unprepared, a KMT legislator said of the poll by an affiliated foundation Nearly 60 percent of Taiwanese believe that a war between Taiwan and China is “unlikely” or “impossible,” a survey released yesterday by the National Policy Foundation showed. The survey asked participants if they thought there was a possibility of war between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait based on recent developments, said the foundation, which is affiliated with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). While 42.5 percent of respondents thought it was “unlikely” and 17.1 percent believed it was “impossible,” 5.1 percent said it was “very likely” and 17.2 percent said it was “fairly possible,” the survey showed. Another 18.2 percent gave
The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered three more suspects in a feces attack on a Taipei restaurant to be held incommunicado over concerns that they might tamper with evidence, flee or renew their alleged attacks. The three suspects — two brothers surnamed Lee (李) and another man identified as Chiang (江) — were arrested on charges of vandalism, public insult, extortion and injury after the court held a detention hearing earlier in the day, court spokesperson Huang Pei-chen (黃珮禎) said. The court in a statement said that the three men said they had no rancor against anyone in the restaurant and that
DISCUSSION: The KMT chairman said that Retrocession Day is an important ROC holiday and its celebration had nothing to do with a struggle within the party The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) hopes to highlight the “important connection” between the Republic of China (ROC) and Taiwan with its celebration of Retrocession Day on Sunday, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said yesterday. In response to media queries in Taichung, Chiang said that Retrocession Day is an important ROC holiday, and that its celebration had nothing to do with a struggle within the KMT over its party line. The KMT values ROC holidays, such as Double Ten National Day and Retrocession Day, he said, adding that since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power, observation of the holidays has “weakened.” The