Taiwanese Businessman Arrested for Spying on Behalf of China

May 27, 2018 Updated: May 27, 2018

In Taiwan, another businessman has been placed under investigation for conducting espionage for China—the second incident in a little over a month.

Lin Wei-lin, 39, a Taiwanese businessman who, after retiring from serving in Taiwan’s Marine Corps, started a mechatronics business in 2000 in Suzhou City, located in Jiangsu Province on the eastern coast of China. After years of working and living in China, Lin began to hold multiple positions in China’s state-controlled organizations, including president of a Taiwanese Youth Businessmen Association in Wujiang District, Suzhou; and deputy director of a local Taiwan Compatriot Investment Enterprises Association.

On May 25, the Liberty Times, a Taiwan newspaper, reported that Lin had been placed under investigation under charges of violating Taiwan’s national security law. Prosecutors in Taoyuan City in northern Taiwan found evidence that he had acted as a spy for the Chinese regime.

Taiwanese authorities uncovered that Lin had intentionally approached his classmate from junior high school after learning that he was an investigator with a Taiwan intelligence agency. According to the Liberty Times, Lin tried to bribe his classmate and hinted that he could introduce his classmate to some “friends” in China. Additionally, Lin told him there were some job opportunities in China that could offer a one-time-fee of at least a million yuan (about $156,400). Ultimately, Lin’s classmate did not take the bait.

Taiwan is a self-ruled island with its own constitution, democratically elected government, and military—established after the Kuomintang were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party during China’s civil war, and fled to Taiwan. Beijing, on the other hand, considers Taiwan a renegade province that will one day be reunited with the mainland, with military force if necessary.

Over the years, China has tried to exert its influence through economic, political, and cultural means to coerce the Taiwanese public and government to embrace the idea of reunification with the mainland. Internationally, China has tried to diminish Taiwan’s global presence by engaging in “dollar diplomacy”—enticing Taiwan allies to recognize only one China ruled from Beijing, by offering lucrative economic deals.

Lin’s case is not the first. Last month, Hung Chin-hsi, a Taiwanese businessman working in Macau, the former Portuguese colony now under Beijing’s sovereignty, was placed under investigation, reported the Liberty Times. He tried to lure an official working for the Investigation Bureau of Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice into working for the Chinese regime by offering him huge sums of money. A Taiwanese court suspected Hung of creating Chinese-regime-friendly associations in Taiwan.

The Taiwanese government is not the only target the Chinese regime tries to infiltrate.

On May 9, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former U.S. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) official, is accused of gathering classified information intended to be passed on to the Chinese regime, and was indicted by a federal grand jury in Virginia earlier this month, reported Reuters.

In August 2014, Su Bin, a Chinese businessman who frequently traveled between China and the United States, was indicted in California. U.S. federal prosecutors alleged that Su hacked into computer systems of Boeing and other U.S. defense contractors, and stole confidential plans for military aircraft, according to Reuters.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @HwaiDer