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Supreme Court upholds High Court verdict in military espionage case

06/21/2024 09:41 PM
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The Supreme Court of Taiwan. CNA file photo
The Supreme Court of Taiwan. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 21 (CNA) The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the sentences given to two retired Air Force officers who helped or attempted to help a Chinese Ministry of State Security agent recruit intelligence assets in Taiwan.

Lieutenant Colonel Wei Hsien-yi (魏先儀) was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay a penalty of NT$3 million. Former Major General Chien Yao-tung (錢耀棟) was given a suspended 16-month prison sentence and a NT$1.5 million fine.

The court also ordered Chien and Wei to attend five and 10 classes, respectively, on Taiwan's law.

According to the prosecutors, Chien and Wei accepted gifts and all-expenses-paid trips to China on multiple occasions from a Hong Kong man surnamed Tse (謝) -- who had told Chien and Wei he was working covertly on behalf of the Chinese government -- in exchange for connecting Tse with fellow retired officers.

Chien and Wei provided introductions for Tse to at least five high-ranking former or current officers -- including Chang Che-ping (張哲平), who served as deputy defense minister in 2019, prosecutors said.

At the time Chien and Wei approached Chang, the ex-minister held a high-ranking position in Taiwan's Air Force Combatant Command.

Tse, posing as a businessman, was actually working for a front organization set up by the Chinese Communist Party's Central Military Commission to gather intelligence about Taiwan's military and politics and conduct counterespionage, prosecutors added.

Chien and Wei continued to arrange banquets and accept gifts from Tse to arrange meetings with retired officers, until Tse, fearing his cover had been blown, abruptly ceased his visits to Taiwan in 2019, according to prosecutors.

An initial ruling by the Taipei District Court found Wei guilty of espionage, and Chien guilty of attempted espionage.

The judges ruled that as retired military officers of Taiwan, Wei and Chien neglected their loyalty to their country.

(By Hsieh Hsing-en and James Lo)

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