Taiwan: four former intelligence officers accused of spying for China

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Four retired Taiwanese military intelligence officers, including a general, have been charged with spying on behalf of China, the Taipei District Procuratorate said on Saturday.

The four suspects were responsible for developing a spy ring and collecting confidential information for Beijing, the prosecutor’s office said.

The two sides have been spying on each other since the Nationalist army took refuge in Taiwan to establish a rival government there in 1949, after losing the civil war against the Communists in mainland China.

Beijing sees the island as a Chinese province that must eventually be reunified, by force if necessary.

Two former Taiwanese colonels have introduced several of their colleagues since 2012 to a Chinese national security official, according to government lawyers, including Major General Yueh, one of the four officers charged.

According to the prosecution, General Yueh received money, gifts or even free excursions during multiple trips to mainland China and Macau, and he worked to recruit other officers to “develop an intelligence network. For Beijing.

The suspects “were aware of the confrontation between our country and the Chinese Communists (…) but they coveted illegal gains, such as advantages (offered by China) for doing business in this country, financial rewards and free travel, ”the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

They are charged under a national security law and another on work in national intelligence.

Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taipei since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016, whose party has traditionally campaigned for a formal declaration of independence for the island – an absolute red line for China.

In October, a Taiwanese court sentenced a lieutenant colonel to four years in prison for spying on behalf of Beijing. Chinese state media reported the crackdown on “hundreds” of Taiwan-related espionage cases and the arrest “of a group of Taiwanese spies and their accomplices.”