Fifteen cases of alleged Chinese espionage activities have been uncovered over the past year, of which 90 percent involved either active military personnel or retired military officers, according to a report presented to the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee by the National Security Bureau on Monday.
Commenting on the report, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said on Monday evening that the military is continuing to heighten counterintelligence measures for its forces, bolster personnel vigilance on protecting national security against hostile activities and guard against Chinese espionage penetration.
One recent case involved retired marine corps colonel Liao Yi-tsung (廖益聰), who was allegedly recruited by China during a visit to Shanghai in 2010, when he was offered 20,000 yuan (US$3,260) a month to spy on Taiwan’s military.
Liao allegedly enticed colleagues with money and recruited Hu Kuang-tai (胡廣泰), a retired marine corps officer who taught at the Marine Corps School in Greater Kaohsiung.
Liao allegedly used Hu’s contacts to recruit young officers in the marine corps to collect classified military information.
Liao and Hu, along with three other officers, are currently under investigation on espionage charges.
“The activities in this case involved not only military personnel carrying out spying for China, it also involved the organizing and operating of a Chinese spy ring in Taiwan’s military. This is quite an unusual development,” said an official, who declined to be named and who had access to the report.
Since last year, alleged espionage cases reported by the media included suspected spying by an air force major in Pingtung County air base in October last year and a former Central News Agency reporter named Kuo Mei-lan (郭玫蘭) who allegedly violated the National Security Act (國家安全法).
However, the bureau’s report suggests that 15 alleged espionage cases had been uncovered.
Citing the likelihood of cases that have not yet been uncovered, the unnamed official said that the number of actual espionage cases may be well beyond what people imagine.
Asked for comment on the report, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) attributed the high number of Chinese espionage cases to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “one China” policy, which he said has weakened national defense.
“Our military officers do not know what they are fighting for,” Tsai said.
DPP Legislator Chen Ou-po (陳歐珀) said these cases are definitive proof of China’s continuing military threat, which has not diminished one bit, despite Ma’s cross-strait policy.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said Chinese spying was ill-advised.
“Although we have more cross-strait interactions and China has presented Taiwan more benefits, every time an espionage case is uncovered, Taiwanese immediately think that China has not given up on taking over Taiwan by force,” he said. “This is detrimental to normalizing cross-strait relations.”