Officers found guilty of spying for foreign nations would face harsher punishment under draft amendments to the National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) that received preliminary legislative approval yesterday in Taipei.
The main draft amendment addresses Article 30 and would add a half term to the court’s sentence if a convict has been an officer for national security or related intelligence duties.
Legislators also approved making the amendment applicable to military personnel within a year of their retirement, in the wake of numerous cases of recently retired military officers found spying for China over the past few years.
In some cases, judges appeared to give lighter sentences because the convicted retired military officers were officially civilians. Such verdicts led to public anger and condemnation.
The session took place during yesterday’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee meeting at the legislature, with National Security Bureau Director-General Lee Shying-jow (李翔宙) on hand to answer questions and discuss the draft amendments and the bureau’s budget.
Lee confirmed that there have been 33 cases of alleged Chinese espionage over the past five years, including investigations, charges or convictions leading to sentencing.
All involved Taiwanese nationals — many who were military officials — being recruited by Chinese intelligence agents or military officers to carry out espionage activities, hand over classified information and undermine Taiwan’s national security.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) asked the government agencies to cut off pensions for retired military personnel who are found guilty of espionage.
Tsai said that 33 Chinese espionage cases are too many, but also there are more not yet discovered.
“The Chinese government has given a mandate to intensify its espionage work in Taiwan — for more infiltrations, recruitment of agents and gathering intelligence. All these efforts are to destabilize Taiwan and to promote ‘unification’ with China,” Tsai said. “They are seizing this final year of Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) presidency to activate a more vigorous campaign. It is very serious, as Ma has left our nation’s door wide open to Chinese visitors. They want to deny Taiwanese aspirations for an independent nation.”
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been