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21/08/2023 | Eighth person detained in sprawling Taiwanese probe of Chinese spy ring

Joseph Fitsanakis

A SEVENTH PERSON HAS been detained in Taiwan as a result of a broadening investigation into a Chinese spy ring that allegedly provided Beijing with sensitive military intelligence.

 

The existence of the investigation was revealed in January of this year, when the Taiwanese authorities announced the arrests of one retired and six active-duty military officers, all of whom were charged with spying for China.

On January 6 of this year, a retired Taiwanese Air Force colonel, identified only by his last name, Liu, was arrested for spying. According to court documents unsealed at the Taiwan High Court branch in Kaohsiung, Liu retired from the Air Force 2013. Soon afterwards, he began business dealings in China. It was during one of his trips to China when Liu was allegedly recruited by the Chinese government. He then carried out espionage operations on behalf of Beijing for approximately eight years.

Throughout his espionage activities, Liu allegedly used his military contacts to recruit six active-duty Taiwanese Air Force and Navy officers to carry out espionage, in return for monetary payments. The six active-duty military officers were arrested along with Liu on January 6. In April of this year, all seven individuals were formally charged with spying for China, in violation of Taiwan’s Classified National Security Information Protection Act.

Taiwanese government prosecutors alleged that each member of the spy ring received between NT$200,000 and NT$700,000 (approximately US$6,500-23,000) for agreeing to spy for Beijing. As the principal agent, Liu received individual bonuses of between NT$30,000 and NT$100,000 (US$1,000-3,200) each time he gave his Chinese handlers information gathered by one of the members of the spy ring.

On August 16, the Taiwanese government announced that one more individual, referred to as “a field officer” was detained on suspicion of spying for China. The suspect was identified only by his last name, Cheng. He was reportedly arraigned in the Taiwan High Court branch in Kaohsiung, the same court that last January delivered espionage charges against the other seven suspects involved in the spy ring investigation. All eight suspects have been denied bail. Their trial has not yet been set.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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