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September 24, 2017

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No incumbent officers involved and no classified info leaked in spy case: MND

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday stressed that no incumbent military officers were found to be involved in the latest case of alleged espionage, nor was any confidential information leaked to Chinese officials.

The MND's comment came amid local media reports that several retired high-ranking Navy officers were recently arrested for allegedly stealing military secrets for Beijing.

The alleged espionage activity centered on retired Colonel Chang Chih-hsin (張祉鑫), a former director of the Political Warfare Office at the Naval Meteorological & Oceanographic Office (METOC), the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper said.

Chang and those who were allegedly involved in the case could have passed confidential nautical charts that show maritime areas and adjacent coastal regions of Taiwan waters and related information on Taiwan's submarine project to the Chinese mainland, posing a serious threat to the national security, it said.

Asked to comment, military spokesman Luo Shou-he yesterday confirmed the arrest of Chang and two retired military personnel this September and that the military has taken various damage control steps.

But he noted that all of the players that allegedly took part in the case were discharged Naval officers and initial investigations show that no incumbent military officers were involved in the case.

Chang was not privy to classified information during his service at the Naval METOC Office, he added.

According to Luo, the case came to light after the 45-year-old Chang was accused of attempting to collect information for the Beijing government from military personnel.

The MND's anti-espionage system received tips on Chang's alleged misconduct as early as this March.

The ministry later turned the case over to prosecutors for further investigation on the alleged spying attempt. Initial probes showed no confidential military intelligence was leaked to Beijing via Chang, he said.

Chang, who filed for retirement this May, was reportedly recruited by a Chinese intelligence agency before his discharge from the Naval office that is responsible for mapping the maritime areas surrounded Taiwan.

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