Two former members of the military on Wednesday were found guilty of attempting to gather classified materials and passing them on to China.
The High Court’s Taichung Branch sentenced Lin Ying-kuan (林盈寬) and Tseng Chi-hung (曾啟鴻) to six months and five months respectively.
Both men had training from the military’s political warfare department and had been reserve officers in the Armed Forces Reserve Command of Miaoli County.
According to the ruling, after leaving the army, Lin worked for a private company that transferred him to Wuxi City in China’s Jiangsu Province in 2012, where he worked as head of building security at a manufacturing plant.
After retiring, Tseng opened an information technology business, court documents said.
Later in 2012, Lin got in touch with Tseng, seeking to gather classified military documents related to the active service personnel defense mobilization program, the ruling said.
Tseng contacted a fellow officer surnamed Chen (陳), a section chief for the Armed Forces Reserve Commmand in Yunlin County, for more information, the ruling said.
Chen, finding the request suspicious, refused and reported the incident to his superiors, which led to the investigation of the case.
Lin defended his actions by saying that he needed the documents to set up an organizational plan for managing company staff at the Wuxi plant, not to pass them on to Chinese government agencies, the ruling read.
The judge found both guilty of offenses against the external security of the state, a spy charge under Article 114 of the Criminal Code.
As their sentences may be commuted to fines, some online commenters said the ruling was too lenient.
“These two men broke the law and violated the military’s code of honor. Allowing them to pay fines and not having to serve jail time is letting them get away too easily,” one surnamed Liu (劉) wrote.
“They are traitors to our nation, they should be locked up,” another surnamed Wang (王) wrote.
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