Retired air force officers major general Chien Yao-tung (錢耀棟) and lieutenant colonel Wei Hsien-yi (魏先儀) were yesterday found guilty by the Taipei District Court of attempted espionage and espionage respectively.
The court handed down a one-year prison term and a four-year suspended sentence for Chien, while Wei received a sentence of one year and 10 months and a five-year suspended sentence, the court said.
It also fined Chien NT$300,000 and Wei NT$600,000.
Photo: Wang Meng-lun, Taipei Times
The ruling can be appealed.
The pair were charged over contraventions of the National Security Act (國家安全法) after investigators linked them to a Chinese intelligence operative surnamed Hsieh (謝), who recruited Taiwanese military officers while posing as a businessman from Hong Kong, the court said.
The purpose of Hsieh’s efforts was to obtain information about Taiwan’s armed forces, it said, adding that he fled the nation following the launch of the investigation in 2019 that led to the indictments against Chien and Wei.
Hsieh recruited Wei as an informant sometime after making contact with him at banquets in 2003, while Chien was recruited through his personal relationship with Wei, it said.
Despite knowing that Hsieh was an agent of Beijing spying for military secrets, Chien and Wu helped him arrange multiple banquets and trips to China for retired Taiwanese officers, the court said.
The activities they organized included a visit in 2012 to China’s Guangdong Province featuring golfing and an air show, and a visit to Wuhan in 2017, it said.
The targets for recruitment included a retired air force lieutenant colonel surnamed Huang (黃), who dined with Hsieh several times before growing suspicious of the man and refusing further contact, the court said.
A retired air force general surnamed Shen (沈), a major general surnamed Chen (陳) and a retired army colonel surnamed Lu (呂) went on trips with members of Hsieh’s group, but they denied sharing secrets with China, the court said.
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