A top-ranking retired navy officer has been found guilty of passing on classified military material to China and recruiting junior officers to do the same.
The High Court’s Kaohsiung Branch early this week sentenced Ko Cheng-sheng (柯政盛), a retired vice admiral, to 14 months in prison for violating the National Security Act (國家安全法) and the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).
Ko, who was the deputy commander of the Republic of China (ROC) Naval Fleet before retiring in 2003, is one of the highest-ranked retired military officers caught spying for China to date.
Last year, Chen Chu-fan (陳築藩), a retired lieutenant-general and deputy commander of the Military Police Command with the equivalent military rank as Ko, was also convicted of espionage.
Ko, 70, had ties with a Taiwanese businessman with Australian citizenship, Shen Ping-kang (沈秉康), 75.
According to prosecutors, Shen had developed good contacts within Chinese government circles from business dealings over the years, including with officials from the People’s Liberation Army General Political Department and the “Shanghai City No. 7 Office,” said to be a branch of the Chinese intelligence apparatus.
In 1998, after learning that Shen and Ko were close friends, Chinese authorities began trying to recruit both men, with a special focus on Ko, a rear admiral at the time, knowing he had access to top-level classified material.
Investigations by prosecutors showed that Shen arranged several all-expenses-paid trips to Australia for Ko and his family, who then traveled to Beijing and other cities in China, between 1998 and 2007.
On these trips, Ko also met up with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, with whom he agreed to cooperate.
Meanwhile, Ko had taken up the post of deputy commander of the ROC Naval Fleet, and was further promoted to vice admiral in 2000.
According to prosecutors, Ko passed on classified information to Chinese officials and then tried to recruit naval officers under his charge for the purpose of organizing an internal network to transfer classified information.
A navy source said Ko would have caused serious damage to national security if he had given all he knew to China, especially the nation’s military mobilization and operational tactics, known as the “Gu An Combat Plan” (固安作戰計畫), for the defense of Taiwan and Penghu in the event of war.
“If Ko had passed on that information, then the ‘Gu An Combat Plan’ is only fit for the rubbish pile. Our battleships would be sitting ducks; once they head out of the ports, they would be targets of attack for Chinese forces,” according to the source, who declined to be named.
However, other military men said the plans were revised over the years, so there was only limited damage done from the leaks by Ko.
Investigators found that Ko’s friends knew he had visited China numerous times since retirement and was fond of boasting that he was “conducting important business on behalf of the government.”
Shen was also convicted and given a 12-month sentence.
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an
BILINGUAL NATION 2030: Those interested can apply online, while recruitment would continue until all of the positions are filled, the Ministry of Education said The recruitment of foreign English teachers for elementary and junior-high schools would be expanded in the 2022-2023 school year as part of Taiwan’s efforts to become a bilingual country, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday. In a statement, the ministry said that it has since 2004 hired 81 foreign nationals per year to teach English in 16 smaller counties and cities to build a better English-learning environment for students. However, for the 2022-2023 school year, the number of foreign English teachers recruited would increase to 531, with some of them to be posted to Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan
Taiwan’s 5G service would not interfere with civil aviation, as there is a broad guard frequency band between the two systems, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. The 5G system’s possible risks to flight safety came under scrutiny after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week warned that 5G services in the C-band spectrum might interfere with radio altimeters on certain types of aircraft, which could prevent a plane from stopping on the runway after landing. Pilots use radio altimeters when landing under low-visibility. Major US carriers last week also said that 5G service plans offered by AT&T and Verizon