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12.5-year sentence upheld for retired lieutenant who ran China spy ring

11/24/2023 06:28 PM
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Shao Wei-chiang (left) and Hsiang Te-en. Photo courtesy of a reader
Shao Wei-chiang (left) and Hsiang Te-en. Photo courtesy of a reader

Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's Supreme Court upheld a combined 12.5-year sentence conviction Thursday for a retired Army lieutenant, who developed a Chinese spy network for over 20 years and ran an underground money exchange service.

In the verdict, which is final, the court rejected defendant Shao Wei-chiang's (邵維強) appeal, saying "investigations for the previous trial were complete and the sentencing was appropriate."

Shao, a former reporter and owner of Kinmen-based Safety Travel Service Co., was originally sentenced to 15 years in jail by Fuchien Kinmen District Court in May 2023 for violation of the National Security Act and the Banking Act in October 2022.

According to the Kinmen court, Shao began organizing a spy network for China in 2002 and provided an illicit Taiwan dollar-Chinese yuan money exchange service between January 2016 and February last year.

During the two-decade span until his arrest last year, he had recruited two people in his spy network, including Hsiang Te-en (向德恩), who was an Army colonel when he accepted Shao's request in 2019 to serve as a Chinese spy in return for a fixed monthly payment.

Between Oct. 31, 2019, and January 2022, Hsiang accepted a total of NT$560,000 (US$18,000) from Shao in exchange for information that he had obtained from the military, according to the district court.

During the court hearing, Shao also admitted to having organized an espionage network for China, and illegally providing money exchange services to customers.

Shao was sentenced to 12 years and five years for each crime and received a combined term of 15 years, which he later appealed.

In the second trial, the Fuchien High Court Kinmen Branch Court determined that Shao's combined sentence should be reduced to 12.5 years due to his confession and full return of his illicit gains.

(By Hsieh Hsing-en and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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