Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Espionage case sentences upheld

LIFE:Sentences for six people found guilty of operating a Chinese spy ring have been maintained, but some have said they are too light for ‘traitors’ who sold out the nation

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a four-year prison term for former Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) intelligence officer Zhen Xiaojiang (鎮小江) in a final ruling over what has been called the biggest Chinese spy ring to have operated in Taiwan in recent years.

Retired Republic of China Army major-general Hsu Nai-chuan (許乃權), who was recruited by Zhen to obtain and pass on classified information to China, was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for violating the National Security Act (國家安全法).

Zhen, who is a retired PLA colonel, recruited retired Taiwanese officials and a civilian to penetrate the nation’s military.

Retired air force colonel Chou Chih-li (周自立), ex-air force pilots Sung Chia-lu (宋嘉祿) and Ma Po-le (馬伯樂), retired army official Yang Jung-hua (楊榮華) and Kaohsiung nightclub owner Lee Huan-yu (李寰宇) were found guilty of espionage and received suspended sentences ranging between four and 18 months.

“We will take lessons from this case and improve education on maintaining secrecy and safeguarding against spying activities. All military units must improve patriotism and loyalty, and set up mechanisms for monitoring and managing information security,” the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement yesterday.

“Our nation cultivated the military careers of Hsu and others involved in this case. However, they could not differentiate between friend and foe, and have put the nation in danger... We believe society will judge the defendants,” the statement said.

However, the sentences were criticized by some who said that they are too lenient and are not a deterrent for others.

“These were military men who swore to be loyal and protect our homeland, but they sold out our nation for money. These traitors will be out of jail soon. They should be jailed for life with no chance for parole,” a netizen surnamed Kuo said.

Supreme Court Judge Huang Jui-hua (黃瑞華) said the case is not closed, as allegations of offenses against the external security of the state by spying on the military to leak state secrets is under judicial investigation and the defendants could receive up to five years in prison if found guilty.

Investigations show that Zhen’s spy network obtained classified information on troop deployment plans, French-built Mirage 2000 jet fighters and an ultra-high-frequency radar station at Leshan (樂山) in Hsinchu County.

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