The military is intensifying countermeasures to prevent Chinese infiltration of its ranks and stepping up evidence-gathering in espionage cases to facilitate prosecution, Executive Yuan officials said at a plenary session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.
That was in response to criticism by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳) that prison sentences meted out in national security law cases were too lenient.
Other countries hand out stiff sentences of 30 years to life in prison for members of the armed forces who spy on their country for a hostile power, Liu said.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
Citing data from the Ministry of Justice, Liu said that the average sentence handed out to people convicted of betraying secrets to Beijing was 6.18 months in prison, which is lax in light of the repeated warnings Taiwan has received from its allies about communist infiltration.
Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) acknowledged that some unidentified military personnel who have been compromised by China might still be serving in security-sensitive positions in the armed forces.
About one-third of service members implicated in leaking national security secrets to China were on active duty, while the remainder were retirees, he said.
Military personnel must follow the law regardless of their service status and former service members who spy for China would still be held accountable, Chiu added.
Although the ministry cannot comment on the handling of espionage cases by the judicial system, the military has stepped up efforts to raise troop awareness against Beijing-directed espionage and is conducting investigations to gather potential evidence for prosecution, he said.
The Ministry of Justice agrees with the assessment that judges are handing down overly lenient sentences for national security breaches, but sentencing is a prerogative of the court, Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said.
Should prosecutors have cause to appeal a sentence, they will pursue it to the full extent of the law, he added.
The justice ministry is collaborating with the defense ministry to educate prosecutors on the crucial importance of prosecuting espionage cases and plans to appoint special prosecutors to try espionage cases, he said.
Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said the justice ministry has been instructed to improve law enforcement’s ability to obtain evidence that can help clinch heavier penalties in cases involving Beijing-directed espionage.
Prosecutors should be encouraged to appeal verdicts that do not fit the crime, he said.
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The