Sun, Nov 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Legislature to address espionage

NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS:One legislator’s draft amendment would increase the maximum sentence for espionage from ‘no more than five years’ to ‘at least three years’ in prison

By Tsen Wei-chen  /  Staff reporter

In the wake of several espionage trials in which rulings were perceived by some lawmakers as too lenient, lawmakers are readying draft amendments to the National Security Act (國家安全法), which are to be submitted to the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee for review on Wednesday.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) and Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) have each drafted punishments for Chinese spies and spies working with China.

Wang’s draft categorizes the receiver of an information leak into “foreign nations,” “China” and “the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] and the People’s Liberation Army [PLA].”

The draft amendment stipulates that people who leak intelligence to the CCP or PLA would face a minimum prison term of 10 years and a potential life sentence.

The punishment would also apply to CCP or PLA affiliates implicated in organized espionage.

Lin’s version also makes a distinction between “Chinese” and “foreign” spies, with Chinese spies facing a maximum jail term of 15 years.

Liu’s version does not include such distinctions, but seeks to change the maximum prison term for spies from “no more than five years” to “at least three years.”

Draft amendments by the Executive Yuan and other lawmakers are more wide-ranging, touching on issues from opening up restricted areas in the mountains to allowing the public to appeal sentences passed down by military courts during the Martial Law era.

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) is proposing extending the act’s jurisdiction to cover the Internet, while DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung’s (莊瑞雄) version includes provisions for the government to call emergency response and coordination meetings in the event of “compound disasters.”

Versions by DPP legislators Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) would legislate the recall of pensions paid to convicts.

The Executive Yuan’s version is a holdover from former premier Simon Chang’s (張善政) Cabinet, which drafted the amendment after director Doze Niu (鈕承澤) asked a Chinese photographer to picture the Zuoying Military Harbor in Kaohsiung and after TV personality Janet Lee (李蒨蓉) boarded a Boeing AH-64 Apache with the consent of former 601st Air Cavalry Brigade Lieutenant Colonel Lao Nai-cheng (勞乃成), two incidents which sparked concerns about national security at the time.

The security lapses prompted the government to amend the Vital Area Act (要塞堡壘地帶法), which contributed to the proposed amendments to the National Security Act to lay down stricter rules on regulating access to military bases.

The Executive Yuan has also submitted draft amendments to the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法) to step up espionage prevention.

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