The Kaohsiung Branch of the Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld convictions against four men for sharing classified materials with China, for which they received sentences ranging from five months to 20 months.
It was the second ruling in a case involving a retired army sergeant surnamed Wang (王), two former army sergeants surnamed Hou (侯) and Chen (陳), and a businessman surnamed Tu (?).
They were found guilty of breaching the National Security Act (國家安全法) for passing classified military manuals and troop deployment information to Chinese officials from 2009 to 2012, the ruling said.
An investigation found that China had paid the defendants up to NT$30,000 for each military manual or document provided.
Tu, 49, and Wang, 40, were sentenced to 10 months and 20 months in prison respectively.
Hou, 29, and Chen, 27, were handed six-month and five-month terms respectively, while the judges said that Chen’s sentence could be commuted to a fine.
The documents leaked to China included a manual on Taiwan’s armed forces deployment and combat preparation, guidelines for field artillery commanding officers, a training manual for EC225 military helicopters, a manual for operating air force telecommunication systems and guidelines for combat and reconnaissance missions for amphibious assault units, investigators said.
Many people have reportedly perceived the court’s decision to be too lenient.
However, the judges cited a Ministry of National Defense assessment, which deemed the leaked documents not to be high-level classified material, when charging the men with “offenses of public functionaries in leaking of secrets not relating to national security.”
Investigators found that Tu began contacting a Chinese intelligence agency official surnamed Zhang (張) in 2009, and involved his friend Wang.
The official asked Tu and Wang to recruit active-duty military personnel to form a spy network to obtain high-level military documents, investigators said.
They reportedly passed at least 12 sets of documents and reports to China over a period of three years.
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