Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 3 News List

VAC and legislators urge pension cut-off for spies

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Amid a public outcry over the issue, officials and legislators are urging changes to terminate government pension payments to the imprisoned Ko Cheng-sheng (柯政盛), the retired vice admiral who was convicted of spying for China.

Veterans Affairs Council director Tung Hsiang-lung (董翔龍) told the legislative session on Thursday that he agrees with concerns expressed by legislators and members of the public that military officers found guilty of spying and betrayal of the nation should not receive pensions.

“For someone who is a traitor to the nation, then no discussion should be necessary. There is no reason for the person to continue collecting government pension payments,” Tung said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said he had obtained signatures from fellow lawmakers in December last year to push for a draft bill to amend the law and stop pensions to military personnel convicted of spying.

“However, the draft bill proposal was opposed and repeatedly stalled by legislators from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Due to the opposition by the KMT, the draft bill cannot yet be tabled for deliberation in the legislature,” Yao said.

Yao also said that courts often handed out light sentences on espionage cases, and so we are seeing an increasing number of military officers caught spying for China.

“For retired military officers who were recruited by an enemy nation to conduct espionage, or use personal relationships to gather classified information, the judicial punishment should be the same as for any active military personnel undertaking such activities,” he added. “Those who are convicted on such charges should be handed a life sentence or the death penalty. However, the current law treats retired officers the same as civilians, who face a much lighter sentence.”

In a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, Ko was found guilty and sentenced to 14 months in prison for violating the National Security Act (國家安全法) by attempting to set up a spy ring in Taiwan and passing on classified military information to China.

A political firestorm was created after Ko remained eligible to collect a generous monthly “lifetime pension.”

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