Sat, Jan 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Spy possibly targeted top secret army unit: reports

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Prosecutors probing New Party members over alleged espionage activities for China are now focusing on the possible leaking of classified information about the nation’s top military special operations unit, according to a report in the Chinese-language United Daily News.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office is looking into allegations that New Party Youth Corps member Lin Ming-cheng (林明正) passed on personal information and contact details of soldiers in the Army Aviation and Special Forces Command’s secretive Airborne Special Service Company (高空特種勤務中隊), also known as the “Liang Shan Special Operations Company” (涼山特勤隊) to former Chinese student Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭), who has been convicted of doing intelligence work for China, the newspaper said yesterday.

The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau’s national security branch summoned a Liang Shan company officer for questioning, the report said, adding that he had admitted to being a friend of Lin.

The officer said he had provided names and contact information of fellow company members at dinner gatherings, the report said.

The officer added Lin as a friend on Facebook and thought it was just normal social interaction to talk about fellow service members, the newspaper said, adding that he regretted it after learning that Lin was accused of collecting classified materials on Taiwan’s armed forces for Zhou.

Prosecutors were quoted by media as saying they believed Zhou was not only trying to obtain names and contact details, but was trying to obtain top secret information on the Liang Shan company’s deployment and special missions.

Investigators debriefed the officer to find out the extent of the leaks, but said he insisted that he had only provided names and details, and had not passed any classified military information to Lin.

Known as Taiwan’s most secretive military unit — equivalent to the US Navy’s elite Sea, Air and Land teams, also known as Navy SEALs — the Liang Shan company is reportedly capable of covert commando strike operations and is based at Pingtung County’s Liangshan (涼山).

If information about the unit were to leak out, it would constitute a serious national security breach, as the unit is responsible for counterterrorism and other special combat missions over and above the regular armed forces.

Prosecutors have said that Zhou targeted the Liang Shan company, as the unit is reportedly trained as Taiwan’s stealth “decapitation” commandos tasked with striking enemy leaders in times of war, but this has never been clarified by top military brass.

According to investigators, Lin served as secretary-general of the “Association of New Chinese Sons and Daughters” (新中華兒女協會) in 2014 when he became acquainted with Zhou and they had frequent interactions about their aligned political views.

Later, Zhou began to request information about Lin’s friends and members of his social circle who were serving in Taiwan’s armed forces, investigators said.

Lin allegedly passed information on five military officers to Zhou, the highest ranked of whom was a colonel, but also including military cadets, which Zhou contacted in hopes of recruiting them to form a spy network, investigators said.

Lin, New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) and fellow party Youth Corps members Hou Han-ting (侯漢廷) and Chen Ssu-chun (陳斯俊) were on Dec. 19 summoned for questioning in connection with Zhou’s conviction for espionage in violation of the National Security Act (國家安全法).

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