Wed, Sep 24, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Retired colonel detained on spying charges

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

A retired air force colonel has been arrested and detained on suspicion of supplying sensitive information to China, with authorities saying they plan to question more individuals implicated in the case.

The Taipei District Court on Saturday approved a request by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office to detain Chou Chih-li (周自立) on charges of violating the National Security Act (國家安全法).

Chou was quoted by prosecutors as admitting to handing over classified military information to a Chinese friend, Zheng Xiaojiang (鎮小江), from Xiamen in China’s Fujian Province, who now lives in Taiwan. Zheng has also been detained, after questioning by prosecutors.

Chou was a pilot trainer, specializing in training crews of AT-3 aircraft, a lightweight fighter jet jointly developed in the 1980s by Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp of the US.

According to prosecutors, since retirement, Chou has traveled to China and cultivated good relationships with Chinese friends. Chou was allegedly recruited by Zheng, who instructed the retired colonel to provide classified materials about Taiwan’s aircraft development.

The prosecutors alleged that Chou received unspecified payments and accepted several “all-expenses-paid junkets” and pleasure trips to China for himself, his family and relatives in exchange for military information.

Accusing Chou of introducing other air force officers to Chinese contacts for “selling classified military information,” prosecutors said they would question three more people in relation to the case.

On Monday, ministry spokesperson Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said Chou has retired from the air force, and as such, the military can not interfere in his private affairs.

“The ministry has been following this case, since we received a tip on Chou’s activities from an active-duty officer. We have a good grasp of the situation. From what we know at this time, this case will not have an impact on our national security,” Lo said.

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