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Intel officer on run since 2012 arrested in UK

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A female Taiwanese military intelligence officer who had been put on the Taiwanese government's wanted list after she failed to report for duty last July was arrested in the United Kingdom earlier this week, Taiwan's representative office in the UK said Wednesday.

Taiwan's top envoy to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) told the Central News Agency Wednesday that his office had established contact with the UK Border Agency to express Taiwan's desire to deport the officer back to Taiwan as soon as possible following her arrest.

The 33-year-old, surnamed Yeh (葉), was on an official wanted list since July 2012 after she failed to report to work following a trip to Thailand in June of the same year.

The lieutenant was then sacked by the Military Intelligence Bureau, which is a branch of the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

Shen's comments came after a UK media report on Wednesday which indicated that the Taiwanese woman who had lived for 18 months in Newport, UK, was being held at a detention center awaiting deportation.

According to the report by the UK-based South Wales Argus newspaper, the woman, who was identified as Emily Yeh and had lived in Newport and volunteered at Oxfam and as an interpreter for the Welsh Refugee Council, was detained last Tuesday.

She is now being held at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Center.

Yeh claims that after she was told that she would have to do “dangerous things” while working in the intelligence services without the support of the Taiwanese government, she fled to Wales to seek asylum, the newspaper said.

Yeh's friend had been protesting outside the center on Yeh's behalf, saying that the Taiwanese national could face the death penalty for fleeing to the UK from Taiwan should she be deported, the report said.

Asked to comment, Shen refuted allegations that Yeh could face the death sentence after repatriation.

Shen said Yeh was arrested by UK Border Agency officials because she had exceeded her residency period in the country and was not holding a valid passport. Yeh's passport had been revoked by Taiwanese authorities after she was put on the wanted list.

She had applied for an extension of her stay in the UK, but her application was rejected, Shen said.

Shen conceded that it could take longer to deport Yeh back to Taiwan since she had already applied for asylum in the UK, according to a Central News Agency report.

Yeh to Face Jail Term

Meanwhile, back in Taipei, military spokesman Luo Shao-ho (羅紹和) said the military will work with related authorities in dealing with deportation and legal proceedings following Yeh's arrest.

Luo also said that Yeh went “absent without official leave” for personal reasons, though some characterizations of her leaving Taiwan as a “defection” by local media are incorrect.

Military sources told local media that Yeh is expected to face a maximum five-year prison term upon her return home for abandoning her post.

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