An army officer and a suspected spy have been remanded into custody over suspicion of handing military secrets to China.
The High Prosecutors’ Office on Monday directed the Taoyuan unit of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau to search the army’s 601st Aviation Brigade and question suspects.
A lieutenant colonel surnamed Hsieh (謝) is suspected of leaking national defense secrets to Chinese or other foreign agents, as well as developing a spy organization of current and retired military personnel in Taiwan, the office said.
Photo: Taipei Times
Prosecutors believe that Hsieh passed the information to an intermediary appointed by Beijing, also surnamed Hsieh (謝).
After finding evidence pointing to contraventions of laws against treason under the Criminal Code, prosecutors successfully petitioned the Taiwan High Court to detain the two men.
A retired army major and another three people have also been questioned in the case and were released on bail of between NT$20,000 and NT$600,000.
Lawyer and former prosecutor Weng Wei-lun (翁偉倫) said that past espionage cases have primarily involved retired military personnel who were recruited abroad and accepted gifts in exchange for information.
However, Beijing is increasingly “reaching into Taiwan,” targeting active military officers through ever-evolving tactics, he said.
Former prosecutor Chen Tsung-yuan (陳宗元) agreed that the situation is a departure from typical espionage cases.
The High Prosecutors’ Office is investigating the case rather than a lower office, which is significant as it handles crimes of sedition and treason rather than contraventions of national security law, he said.
The fact that the two suspects have been detained also points to more sophisticated tactics by their handlers, Chen added.
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