Prosecutors in Tainan have indicted retired army lieutenant colonel Cheng Chih-wen (鄭智文) and his father, Cheng Chao-ming (鄭昭明), chairman of the Labor Party, on charges of spying and recruiting other military personnel to work for China.
After receiving information in July, the prosecutors said that the conduct of the two men breached provisions of the National Security Act (國家安全法).
Evidence showed that they had contacts in China and had meetings in third countries with a Chinese intelligence officer surnamed Li (李) who works for a “united front” agency in China’s Fujian Province, the prosecutors said in a statement.
“For their own profit, the Chengs worked for a Chinese intelligence operation targeting Taiwan, helping to recruit Taiwanese military officers to develop a spy network,” the statement said. “This has severely undermined national security and caused a lot of damage to the morale and discipline of our armed forces.”
“China used numerous methods to infiltrate Taiwan and conduct espionage,” the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement. “The recent case shows that China has bolstered its efforts with many different channels and access, permeating all sectors of society.”
Prosecutors requested a three-year and eight-month sentence for Cheng Chih-wen, 50, who retired from his position in the Armaments Bureau in 2013.
They requested a three-year sentence for Cheng Chao-ming, 76, whose political party has a platform that advocates socialism and unification with China.
Evidence indicated that Cheng Chao-ming’s Labor Party activities had for years involved trips to China, where he befriended Chinese government officials, the prosecutors said.
At a meeting in November 2009, Li became acquainted with the younger Cheng, who was part of the Combined Logistics Command at the time, they said.
The two sides met for a dinner appointment in Tokyo, where Li gave the Chengs an antique vase and US$1,000, which the younger Cheng accepted, prosecutors said.
They had subsequent meetings, including one in Singapore in November 2010 at which Li asked the younger Cheng to recruit officers to develop a spy network in Taiwan, prosecutors said.
Li urged the younger Cheng to expand his influence among fellow officers and persuade them not to fight China, but to cooperate with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and surrender in the event of war, prosecutors said, adding that Li had said it would be for the “greater good of Taiwan’s unification with the Chinese motherland.”
The Chengs agreed to the requests and signed an agreement at the Singapore meeting, with Li giving them US$11,000 and a Swiss Tissot watch, prosecutors said.
The younger Cheng had other meetings with Li, in Malaysia in December 2016, twice in 2017, as well as last year in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where Li provided more instructions and handed over other enticements, prosecutors said.
An officer surnamed Chen (陳), who Cheng Chih-wen had recruited, was also at the Ho Chi Minh meeting, prosecutors said, adding that he took money, but did not work for China, as he became a witness for the prosecution and was not indicted.
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