Taiwan soldier charged with leaking military secrets to China

Tuesday, July 9, 2024
 -A Taiwanese sergeant has been indicted for allegedly photographing and leaking confidential defence information to China, according to prosecutors on Tuesday, July 9.

 Beijing, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory, has intensified military and political pressure on the island in recent years.

 The sergeant, identified by his surname Chen, worked at a navy training centre and was recruited by several individuals who "collected intelligence for mainland China" through messaging apps in 2022, said the Taiwan High Prosecutors' Office.

 "Between April 2022 and February 2023, he photographed secret national defence information in Pingtung, Yilan, and other locations using his mobile phone," the office stated. "He sent the information four times via Line and Telegram for a total illegal gain of NT$170,000 ($5,230)."

 Chen has been charged with violating the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces and the Anti-Corruption Act.

 Defense ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang commented on the indictment, stating that the military had collaborated with national security units on the case. "In recent years, the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party’s) infiltration has indeed posed a very serious threat to the military. The threat is no less than the threats posed by missiles or aircraft and ships," Sun told reporters.

 China maintains a near-daily presence of warships, drones, and fighter jets around Taiwan. Earlier this year, Beijing launched war games following the May 20 inauguration of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, whom they regard as a "dangerous separatist" due to his defence of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

In pre-recorded footage for a military television program aired Tuesday, July 9, President Lai, dressed in military fatigues, warned soldiers at an air force base in central Taichung city to remain vigilant. "China’s infiltration and spying will not stop," he said. "You must always be vigilant, pay attention to your own information security, and do not fall into traps."

 Chen's indictment is the latest in a series of spying cases. In April, a father and son were sentenced to eight years in prison for collecting confidential military information and attempting to develop a spying "organization" for Beijing.


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