TAIPEI (AFP) – Four retired Taiwanese military intelligence officers – including a major general – have been charged with spying for China, prosecutors said on Saturday (February 20th).
The four were charged with developing a spy network and gathering confidential information about Beijing, the Taipei District Attorney’s Office said.
The two sides have been spying on each other since the nationalists left the island to set up a rival government in 1949 after losing a civil war in communist territory.
China claims self-governing, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Two former Taiwanese colonels were recruited by a Chinese national security official in the southern province of Guangdong, government lawyers said, and had introduced several colleagues to the official since 2012.
Among those introduced was the former major general, identified by his family name Yueh.
Yueh received free money, gifts and excursions during numerous trips to mainland China and Macau and worked to recruit other officers to “develop an intelligence network” for Beijing, prosecutors said.
The defendants “were aware of the stalemate between our country and the Chinese communists … but they coveted illicit profits such as benefits (offered by China) for doing business there, financial rewards and free travel,” prosecutors said in a statement. statement.
They face charges under national security law and national intelligence labor law.
Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taipei since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, in part because it considers Taiwan a de facto sovereign nation.
In October, a Taiwanese court sentenced a lieutenant colonel to four years in prison for espionage for Beijing after Chinese state media reported a crackdown on “hundreds” of Taiwan-related espionage cases and arrested “a bunch of Taiwanese spies and their accomplices.”
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV also aired four television “stories” from Taiwanese nationals detained in China’s vague judicial system.
Many Taiwanese nationals have disappeared into Chinese custody accused of various anti-state crimes in cases that sparked a home protest.
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