Wed, Jul 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

China-based pair found guilty of spying for Beijing

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Two businessmen were yesterday convicted of spying for China by attempting to obtain an advance copy of the president’s 2016 Double Ten National Day address, and sentenced to four months in prison, convertable to a fine.

In the first ruling in the case, Taipei’s Shilin District Court found that Yang Ku-chun (楊谷駿) and Huang Yuan-yu (黃元榆) had contravened Article 2-1 of the National Security Act (國家安全法), which bars the “detection, collection, consignation or delivery of any confidential documents, pictures, information or articles, or developing an organization for official use of a foreign country or Mainland China, for its militaries, party duties, or other official organizations.”

The National Security Bureau said the content of a president’s speech falls under the category of confidential documents with implications for national security, prosecutors said.

Yang and Huang were based in China and became acquainted with Chinese officials through their work. A Chinese intelligence official approached them in 2016 and asked if they had connections in Taiwan who could obtain an advance copy of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Oct. 10 speech.

The two men made telephone calls to Cheng Cheng-hung (鄭丞宏), a former chairman of the Real Estate Development Association of Taipei and of a leading Lions Club, who they believed had good business and political connections, and asked him for help, but he refused.

“The presidential address on Double Ten National Day usually involves important announcements on the nation’s major policy directions and deals with the cross-strait relationship. As such, if China had obtained an advance copy, then it could undertake pre-emptive actions and make policy changes as countermeasures against Taiwan,” the court said in its ruling.

“Although Yang and Huang failed to obtain a copy, they still endangered Taiwan’s national security... If no punishment was meted out given that they had failed in their attempt, then our national security would not be well protected,” the court said.

The court cleared Cheng of involvement in the case, saying he had acted in exemplary fashion.

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