A Ministry of Justice and the Investigation Bureau proposal to increase counterintelligence and public security has been sent to the Executive Yuan for review.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has since her inauguration said on several occasions that the nation’s counterintelligence system needs an overhaul and requested that the ministry institutionalize the nation’s public security and counterintelligence activities.
After six months of research, the ministry and the bureau submitted a 31 article bill that categorizes “military,” “agency” and “social” counterintelligence.
A national public security and counterintelligence task force would be set up under the Cabinet, with the premier as its convener, and regional boards would be established in every city and county with the respective mayors and county commissioners acting as conveners.
Government agencies, nuclear power plants, the high-tech industry and other national security-related industries would be required to set up counterintelligence offices or hire counterintelligence staff.
Under the proposal, when a suspicious target is identified, an investigation would be carried out with agency approval; if there is a high chance that the target could endanger national security, counterintelligence officials could conduct a spot checks and confiscate items or detain suspects if necessary.
The detention period in principle should not exceed 30 days and an extension period should not be more than two months, while if any damage is caused to people’s life or property they could be compensated, the draft states.
Refusing to comply with the counterintelligence units’ security checks and drills could incur a fine of NT$1 million (US$31,659). Refusing the units’ demands for documents or security vetting could be punishable with a fine of up to NT$500,000. Evading or refusing visits from the counterintelligence units would be punishable by a fine not exceeding NT$50,000.
The draft also says that those who disclose, investigate or collect information on the identities of public security and counterintelligence officials could be sentenced to a maximum seven years in prison.
Probing and collecting for espionage carries a five to 12 years sentence, while helping foreign terrorist groups develop a network in the nation is subjected to a maximum sentence of seven years.