Former legislative aides indicted over espionage for China

08/13/2020 05:12 PM
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Lee Yi-hsien (李易諴, left) / CNA file photo
Lee Yi-hsien (李易諴, left) / CNA file photo

Update: Ex-legislative aides indicted for espionage released on bail

Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) Three former legislative aides were indicted Thursday on suspicion of involvement in developing a spy network in Taiwan for Chinese intelligence.

According to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office, the case involved Chen Wei-jen (陳惟仁), Lee Yi-hsien (李易諴) and Lin Yung-ta (林雍達), all of whom were found to have obtained and attempted to pass on sensitive government material to China's Ministry of State Security between 2012 and 2016.

Prosecutors said that both Chen and Lin were found to have traveled to Macau in 2012, where they met up with a Chinese intelligence officer, identified as "Huang Guanlong" (黃冠龍) and were instructed to set up a spy network in Taiwan in order to gather information for the Chinese security agency.

The two worked as former aides to Chen Shu-hui (陳淑慧), who at the time had been a lawmaker for the Kuomintang (KMT) and is currently deputy mayor of Chiayi City.

Lee, who worked as a reporter at the time, was persuaded by Huang to work for the network in 2014. The media worker subsequently became an assistant to Chang Li-shan (張麗善), an ex-KMT legislator who later became Yunlin county magistrate in December 2018, according to media reports.

In 2016, Taipei prosecutors said the team provided the Chinese intelligence officer with the requested inside information of the National Policy Foundation's cross-strait forum.

Also that year, Chen Wei-jen and Lee were instructed by Huang to try and obtain from the National Police Agency information regarding anti-China activities carried out by Falun Gong members in Taiwan. The mission, however, did not come to fruition, prosecutors said.

CNA video

The following year, the network was tasked with obtaining the personal health information of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), at all costs. The project too, prosecutors said, was foiled because the person the team wanted to hire to hack into the National Health Insurance Administration data refused to comply.

Other attempts such as trying to obtain sensitive materials from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also failed to succeed because the inside people they tried to recruit refused to play along.

On Thursday, the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said the trio were charged in violation of the National Security Act, for their alleged involvement in developing an espionage network for the Chinese authorities.

(By Lin Chang-shun and Ko Lin)

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