Taiwan charged a colonel with corruption and violating state security law. The prosecutor said that he accepted bribes from Beijing, acted as a spy, and signed a letter of surrender to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Te-en Hsiang was an army colonel and director of the Infantry Training Command Combat Research and Development Division in Fengshan Camp, southern Taiwan. In September, investigators from the National Security Bureau seized him from the Fengshan Camp.
On Nov. 22, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office charged Hsiang with corruption and contravention of the National Security Act.
Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 12 years in prison for Hsiang.
This case highlighted “the serious threat of the CCP infiltration” to the country, Republic of China (ROC), according to a press release of the Ministry of National Defense on the island.
This case is significant because it involved an active-duty high-ranking officer with access to the secrets of the Taiwan military.
Incited to Defect
Hsiang, formerly stationed in the Kinmen Defense Command, was just promoted to the Fengshan Camp in Kaohsiung on May 1. Kinmen is an island under Taiwanese control, but it is only about 6 miles from mainland China.
Prosecutors started an investigation of Hsiang after recently concluding an investigation of a retired lieutenant, Wei-chiang Shao.
Shao, who worked as a news correspondent in Kinmen after retiring from the army, had been tasked by the CCP for more than a decade to target top-ranking officers in Kinmen.
Kinmen, with its short distance from mainland China, is a strategically important military frontline for Taiwan.
Investigators found his contacts with Hsiang and several other active-duty officers. Shao, as a CCP agent, was said to have worked to attract attention from Hsiang through multiple occasions of parties and gifts.
The prosecutors recently charged Shao with harming state security, violating banking law, and corruption.
Both indictments for Hsiang and Shao were not available for the involvement of state security and confidential matters.
According to the Central News Agency, the national news agency of Taiwan, investigations found that Hsiang had started to receive monthly payments of 40,000 New Taiwan Dollars (about $1,293) from Beijing operatives since 2019, assisted Shao to spy on military officers at the ranking of major general and above, and evidence of Hsiang posed in his uniform for a photo with Shao and a letter of surrender to the CCP he signed.
In a press release on Nov. 22, the Ministry of National Defense addressed the investigation and indicated the need to strengthen counter-intelligence education for officers and soldiers in collaboration with the national security units.
The Department of Prosecutorial Affairs, Ministry of Justice, also issued a press release on the 22nd stating that Shao had contacted several other officers for years. Investigators have controlled important information from the cellphones of those implicated, including Hsiang.
Zhong Yuan contributed to this report.