Fri, Jul 07, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors indict ex-Chinese student for espionage

PART-TIME JOB:A Chinese official reportedly told Zhou that he would be generously rewarded for recruiting Taiwanese officials while studying and working in the nation

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former Chinese student Zhou Hongxu, center, is yesterday escorted by police in Taipei after having been indicted for violating the National Security Act.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Prosecutors yesterday formally indicted former Chinese student and alleged spy Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭) on charges of violating the National Security Act (國家安全法), with investigators saying that Zhou offered a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official US$10,000 to pass on classified government materials.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office concluded a four-month investigation by pressing charges against Zhou, 29, who allegedly attempted to develop a spy network on the orders of the Chinese government.

Zhou, from China’s Liaoning Provice, came to Taiwan as an exchange student at Tamkang University in 2009, enrolled in a master of business administration program at National Chengchi University (NCCU) in September 2012 and graduated in July last year.

He later returned to Taiwan for work.

During the investigation, Zhou admitted to spying and attempting to recruit Taiwanese officials, Taipei Deputy Chief Prosecutor Chang Chieh-chin (張介欽) said, adding that as Zhou provided details of his espionage, prosecutors would request a reduced sentence.

“While studying at NCCU, Zhou in 2014 traveled to Shanghai to attend a conference on cross-strait dialogue, where he met a Chinese official surnamed Li (李),” Chang said. “The two men developed a good relationship and met a number of times in China from November 2014 to January.”

“Li reportedly told Zhou that he could pay him to ‘carry out tasks’ while studying and working in Taiwan,” Chang said.

Li allegedly directed Zhou to become acquainted with Taiwanese politicians and people working in military, police, intelligence and foreign affairs agencies, he said.

Zhou was allegedly told to try to get such individuals to take trips abroad, where they would be met by Chinese officials, he added.

“Li promised to generously reward Zhou according to the level and importance of Taiwanese figures he recruited,” Chang said.

The investigation found that Zhou joined a number of social networks and attended functions to make friends in the nation, where he established a relationship with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs junior official, codenamed “Mr A,” who had access to top-level government materials.

Zhou allegedly tried to persuade “Mr A” to work for the Chinese government by passing on classified materials, offering US$10,000 per quarter, Chang said, adding that Zhou had made preparations for his asset to travel to Japan to meet with Chinese officials.

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