Ex-naval officer in Taiwan given prison term for spying for China
CNATAIPEI--A retired Taiwanese naval officer was sentenced to three years in prison Friday for leaking classified national security intelligence to China.
March 2, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Chien Ching-kuo, a former Navy lieutenant, was convicted of having provided classified information on Taiwan's plan to send naval fleets to protect Taiwanese deep-sea fishing vessels from attacks by Somali pirates, the Kaohsiung branch of the Taiwan High Court said.
Chien, a former missile launch instructor on Chengkung-class frigates, can appeal the verdict.
The court said in its ruling that Chien, who operated a barbecue restaurant in Taipei after his retirement from military service, became acquainted with a Chinese intelligence agent during a trip to the Indonesian resort island of Bali in May 2009.
China's intelligence agency then recruited Chien by treating him to all-expenses-paid overseas vacations and later demanded that he use his connections in Taiwan's Navy to invite active Taiwanese servicemen to join the Communist Party of China (CPC), the verdict said.
The court found that Chien himself became a CPC member in August 2011.
Acting on China's instructions, Chien began in September 2011 to collect information about the military's “Chingyang Project” under which the Navy planned to send warships to protect Taiwanese deep-sea fishing ships operating in waters vulnerable to Somali pirates.
In the process, the verdict said, Chien first approached Commander Chang Chih-hsin, a section chief at the Naval Meteorological and Oceanographic Office, but was turned away by Chang because he had no knowledge of the plan.
Chien then turned to a lieutenant, surnamed Lee, who worked at the Naval Fleet Command.
In a meeting at Chien's Taipei restaurant in November 2011, Lee showed Chien details of the plan, including the warships that would comprise the fleet and the ports at which the fleet would stop on its way to Somalia.
Chien then conveyed the information to his Chinese contacts by phone, but the plan was later aborted by Taiwan due to political concerns.
Chien, who has been detained since last September when his spying activities came to the attention of the Navy, was indicted in January this year on the charge of violating the country's Classified National Security Information Protection Act.
According to prosecutors, Chien got acquainted with Chinese intelligence personnel during his Bali trip through the mediation of a retired officer, surnamed Lu, who used to work at the military's missile command.
Lu and Lee, who retired in July 2012, are also under investigation.
Chang has also been detained since last September on suspicion of obtaining classified information through former military colleagues and using it for illegal gains.