The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday confirmed that an admiral has been questioned over his alleged involvement in what could be one of the nation’s most serious espionage cases.
Ministry spokesman Major-General David Lo (羅紹和) confirmed reports that an has come under investigation, but would not provide further details. Media reported that Admiral Hsu Chung-hua (徐中華), commander of the 146th Attack Squadron based in Magong, Penghu, had been transferred from his position.
Chengkung-class frigates, which are in the process of being armed with the Hsiung Feng III supersonic “carrier killer” anti-ship missile, are among the vessels comprising the 146th, which would play a primary role countering the Chinese navy in the event of hostilities in the Taiwan Strait.
The investigation is believed to be linked to the arrest in September of three senior military officers suspected of leaking secrets to China, one of the most serious breaches in Taiwan’s history.
One of the officers arrested in the raid was Chang Chih-hsin (張祉鑫), formerly a commander in charge of political warfare at the navy’s meteorology and oceanography office, which keeps highly classified maps and charts.
Military experts say China could learn more about the operation of Taiwan’s submarines if it obtained such information.
The latest probe has spurred concerns that despite eased tensions, China has not reduced its hostility toward Taiwan.
“As more ranking officers have been involved in such espionage cases over the last few years, we are afraid that China has infiltrated various levels of the military,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) told reporters.
In related developments, the China Marine Surveillance (CMS) under the State Oceanic Administration on Saturday commissioned the Haijian 8002, China’s first kiloton-class civilian surveillance ship, which will join the CMS fleet in charge of patrolling and enforcing China’s sovereignty rights in the East China Sea, which includes the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.
The ship can travel 5,000 nautical miles (9,260km) without refueling and, according to reports, is equipped with high-speed law-enforcement boats, two water cannons and a 152-decibel directional warning system strong enough to shatter glass at a distance of 3km.
Taiwanese and Japanese coast guard vessels have engaged in water cannon battles in waters close to the Diaoyutais in recent months.
The Haijian’s mapping system is reportedly connected to the Beidou satellite-based navigation system.