Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors indict colonel for falsifying travel plans

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday indicted a colonel in charge of highly classified information at the National Security Bureau for fraudulently reporting his overseas travel.

A security clearance is required for bureau officials handling intelligence and other classified information, and they must request prior approval before traveling abroad, as there are restrictions on visiting certain countries.

The colonel, surnamed Pan (潘), reportedly works for the bureau’s First Department, which handles international intelligence, meaning he has access to high-level materials and information about espionage operations in other nations.

Pan had in the past year reported to his superiors that he planned to travel abroad three times, on visits to Japan, South Korea and the US and Canada, prosecutors said.

An investigation revealed that after receiving approval from his superiors, the colonel instead flew to Myanmar, where he reportedly has relatives, prosecutors said.

As he fraudulently reported his overseas travel by not following his registered itinerary, prosecutors said they have indicted him for breaching provisions of the National Security Act (國家安全法).

“The colonel, who works in a highly sensitive section of the National Security Bureau and is responsible for international intelligence gathering and overseas operations, is required to follow certain foreign travel restrictions,” prosecutors said.

“However, after applying for authorization to travel to certain countries as a tourist in May, July and November last year, he went to Myanmar instead, contravening the stipulated conditions of his position,” they said.

During the investigation, Pan admitted to having traveled to Myanmar, but told prosecutors that he went there to visit a member of his extended family who had become ill.

Investigators verified the breach by checking the colonel’s flight information and exit and entry records, prosecutors said.

Myanmar remains a sensitive topic for Taiwan, especially as the Burmese government had supported former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops who settled in northern regions of the country and conducted military and espionage operations against China during the Cold War, as well as the country’s connection to drug cultivation and international smuggling networks, political commentators said.

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