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Home The News News Ten officers charged with espionage

Ten officers charged with espionage

Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing.

The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime.

The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei.

Police officers escort a suspect in an espionage case from the High Prosecutors’ Office to the High Court in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times

The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one from the army’s Chemicals, Biohazards and Radiation Training Center based in Taoyuan tasked with defense against chemical and biological warfare.

Prosecutors charged them with treason in accordance with a provision in the Criminal Code, which was amended in May, which states that “any person colluding with a foreign state or its agent” with the intent to start a war against the nation may be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

Evidence showed that two active-duty officers, surnamed Wu (吳) and Lu (陸), were paid to film videos declaring their willingness to surrender to Chinese People’s Liberation Army forces, the indictment read.

“Active-duty soldiers pledging their allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party is an extremely vicious act,” it said.

Three of the suspects were accused of recruiting active-duty servicepeople to collect military information to “develop a network for China,” the High Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement.

The four officers that they enlisted were charged with handing over “multiple military secrets” to Beijing in exchange for money, it said without elaborating.

The 10th suspect was accused of stealing military secrets from a safe at his workplace.

“These 10 suspects are in active service or retired military officers, and receive salaries or pensions from the government. They have or had held positions in the armed forces, and were educated, trained and cultivated for many years by the government, and tasked with the duty of defending the nation,” the indictment said.

“Therefore the suspects are well-aware that loyalty to the nation is the most fundamental obligation of a soldier. However, they chose to betray the nation, broke their oath to protect state secrets and breached their duties as soldiers to defend the homeland,” it added.

“Due to personal greed, they betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on numerous documents and materials pertaining to military and state secrets, which seriously harmed national security. It is painful to point out how these suspects betrayed their fellow soldiers in active duty by committing treason. They should therefore receive the severest punishment under the law,” it said.

Yesterday’s indictment was the latest in a recent string of espionage cases in the nation.

Last month, a retired air force colonel was sentenced to 20 years in prison for spying for Beijing and handing over confidential national security information.

In August, a father and son duo were indicted for recruiting two soldiers who allegedly helped them gather information for China about Taiwan’s Han Kuang military exercises.

Source: Taipei Times - 2023/11/28

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