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10 indicted in Taiwan on charges of spying for China

11/27/2023 10:38 PM
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CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only
CNA file photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, Nov. 27 (CNA) The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office indicted 10 people Monday, including several active duty military personnel, for allegedly spying for China, with five facing more serious charges continuing to be held in custody.

The case stems from an investigation led by the prosecutors office into a man surnamed Chen (陳), who was suspected of having been recruited by China in 2021 and run espionage activities for Beijing, according to a statement issued by prosecutors.

They suspected that Chen engaged in developing a spy organization of current and retired military personnel tasked with collecting intelligence for China.

In their indictments, prosecutors alleged that Chen, a former Army major surnamed Hsiao (蕭), and a businessman surnamed Hsieh (謝) built spy organizations for China that recruited military personnel to collect military (state) secrets, the statement said.

A lieutenant colonel also surnamed Hsieh (謝), and three Army soldiers surnamed Ho (何), Kang (康) and Hung (洪) were charged with collecting official documents they kept hold on or from their colleagues by taking advantage of their position, the statement said.

Another individual surnamed Liu (劉) was accused of stealing military (state) secrets beyond his level of authority, even though he was not in a position to do so, the statement said.

Finally, two active-duty military soldiers surnamed Lu (陸) and Wu (吳) were indicted for seriously violating their loyalty oaths and expressing allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Prosecutors allege that they were lured by money from the businessman named Hsieh to film a video called "I Will Surrender to the People's Liberation Army" for the use by China as a tool for psychological warfare.

The statement issued by prosecutors did not offer any details on the extent or types of "military intelligence" that was passed on.

The case was built after prosecutors and investigators in Taoyuan followed up on the investigation into Chen at the end of July by issuing multiple summons and conducted searches in several places.

They eventually came to suspect the lieutenant colonel surnamed Hsieh (謝) of leaking military secrets to China and developing a spy ring for Beijing by recruiting military officers, the statement said.

Hsieh was also suspected of handing over military intelligence to the businessman surnamed Hsieh (謝), who served as a middleman designated by foreign forces, prosecutors alleged.

During the investigation, meanwhile, prosecutors filed motions to detain six of the people under investigation, including the lieutenant colonel and the businessman.

The others detained were Hsiao (蕭), who retired in April from a teaching post at the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (CBRN) Training Center, and the three Army soldiers.

The soldier surnamed Hung was later released on bail, according to the office.

After prosecutors filed the indictments, a hearing was held before the Taiwan High Court to determine if the five individuals should remain detained.

The court ruled that they should continue to be held in custody because they were charged with serious crimes carrying minimum sentences of more than five years and they also posed a flight risk.

(By Liu Shih-yi and Evelyn Kao)

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