Wed, Jun 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers pass stiffer spying penalties

TO CATCH A SPY:Under the amendments, those who are convicted of espionage and whose confessions help to discover other spies would receive more lenient sentences

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The legislature yesterday passed amendments to the National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) that would increase the penalties for military personnel convicted of espionage while working in national security or related intelligence services, and also for civilians who are convicted of assisting them.

The amended act says that intelligence personnel convicted of espionage are to receive a jail sentence 1.5 longer than civilians convicted of the same crimes. The amendments apply to officers within one year of retirement or those planning to leave their positions.

Under the new amendments those convicted of disclosing information about sources, or about the identity, activities and communication of intelligence officers and their assistants are subject to a minimum prison sentence of seven years.

For disclosing any other information, prison sentences range from three years to 10 years.

Those convicted of collecting sensitive information on the identity or activities of intelligence personnel would face imprisonment of five to 12 years, while those convicted of collecting information not directly related to intelligence agents would be subject to prison sentences of between one and seven years.

The increase in penalties has been passed, according to the legislature, following the relatively light sentence given to Lo Pin (羅斌), a China-based Taiwanese businessman, in the case involving Colonel Lo Chi-cheng (羅奇正), who had been spying for China.

The amendments also state that in order to encourage spies to reform and reduce harm to national security, those whose confessions have helped in the discovery of other spies or halted espionage activities harmful to national security could have their penalties commuted.

Additional reporting by CNA

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