Officer transferred over relative’s alleged spying

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Feb 06, 2013 - Page 4

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said an army officer had been transferred after one of his relatives was found to have been allegedly involved in espionage.

Media reports said Army Major General Wu Chin-chun (吳金駿), who originally headed the ministry’s legislative liaison office, was transferred to a non-leadership position last week over his relative’s alleged involvement in a case in which Chang Chih-hsin (張祉鑫), a former chief officer in charge of political warfare at the Naval Meteorology Oceanography Office, was detained in September last year on suspicion of obtaining classified information from former military colleagues and using it for illegal gain.

Minsitry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said Wu had been temporarily reassigned to help with the investigation into his relative’s alleged role in the case.

He did not elaborate.

Wu, reportedly a trusted aide to Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), was the second senior military officer to be named in as many days as having been transferred after Chang’s suspected leaks of submarine nautical charts to China.

On Monday, the ministry confirmed that a rear admiral had been questioned by military prosecutors the previous week in connection with the investigation.

The ministry stopped short of revealing the officer’s name, although reports on Monday pointed to Admiral Hsu Chung-hua (徐中華).

The Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) first reported the new twist in the case that same day.

It said that a senior naval officer in active service was questioned the previous week and transferred to Navy Command Headquarters to facilitate follow-up inquiries after serving as a fleet commander.

The paper also reported that Chang, along with a lieutenant at Naval Fleet Command and a retired missile officer in the navy, had been detained and indicted on charges of leaking military secrets for illegal gain.

Yesterday, the UDN revealed Wu’s relative’s alleged connection with the case.

The paper said military prosecutors were still questioning Wu’s relative to determine whether to summon Wu for questioning.

Although the ministry confirmed the arrest of Chang for the first time in October last year, it denied that his actions resulted in the exposure of military secrets.

The ministry said at that time that the ministry had taken anti-espionage measures to minimize the possible risk of exposure of classified intelligence thanks to early tipoffs.

The UDN quoted military sources as saying that if the naval officer is found to have been involved in spying, it would represent the worst espionage scandal since the case of Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲), an army general who was lured by a “honey trap” sting into spying for China during his posting at Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand.