The High Court yesterday upheld a guilty ruling against two former presidential guards who were charged with espionage, and ordered them to serve out their prison terms.
The judges withdrew a suspended sentence for retired military officer Sun Han-fan (孫翰方) and his nephew Wang Wen-yen (王文彥), a former officer with the National Security Bureau’s Special Service Center, ordering Sun to serve his three-year and four-month sentence, and Wang to serve his 22-month sentence.
The two were found guilty of breaching the National Security Act (國家安全法), spying for China and trying to obtain the closely guarded itinerary of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), as well as US and Japanese politicians who visited and met with Tsai in 2018.
Lawmakers and pundits said that the bureau and other top intelligence agencies must take heed from the serious breaches and vulnerabilities exposed in this case, as it revealed a concerted effort by Beijing to penetrate the top levels of government, its successful infiltration into the ranks of the security officers around the president, and its attempts to recruit Taiwanese military and intelligence officers to obtain classified materials.
Sun was recruited from the military ranks to work at the Presidential Office’s Department of Security Affairs, and had served as a personal guard for former presidents Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), a court statement said.
Upon his retirement, Sun went to China, took a job at a Chinese law firm, and was approached by a Chinese intelligence officer surnamed Fang (方), who offered him money to recruit friends and relatives in Taiwan to infiltrate and spy on the Taiwanese government.
“Knowing that Fang was working for a Chinese intelligence agency, Sun agreed to engage in espionage and recruitment work, as Fang promised to give him up to 10,000 yuan [US$1,542] each month, and big rewards for successful jobs, which included obtaining highly classified materials from the Taiwanese government and military,” the statement said.
After Sun returned to Taiwan, he learned that Wang had been promoted from his job at the bureau to serve as a security guard at the Presidential Office during the tenures of former presidents Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Wang became the head of one of the Military Police Command’s security guard units when Tsai began her presidential term in 2016.
Sun recruited Wang to procure confidential information that he passed on to his Chinese handlers. These included the names, ranks, job descriptions and telephone numbers of top officers in charge of security arrangements at the Presidential Office, as well as daily security guard rotations and details, an investigation showed.
Sun had treated Wang to junket trips to Bali, Singapore and South Korea from 2008 to 2016 as part of an ongoing effort to persuade and instruct him on obtaining classified materials, the investigation showed.
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