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Taiwan Charges Army Officer With Corruption, Harming State Security

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwanese prosecutors said on Tuesday they had charged a senior military officer with corruption and harming state security after they said he took bribes from a Chinese agent to act as a spy and even signed a letter promising to surrender to China.

Taiwan has long battled against what it says is a sustained espionage campaign run by Beijing to undermine Taiwan’s armed forces and sow dissent in the ranks. China views Taiwan as a “sacred” part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

The prosecutors’ office in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city told Reuters they were seeking a 12-year sentence for an army colonel who had over the last four years received T$560,000 ($17,975.80) in bribes from a Chinese agent who was also a retired Taiwanese officer.

The retired officer persuaded the colonel, who had been thinking of leaving the armed forces, to stay in service so he could gradually rise up the ranks and act as a spy, it said.

The colonel signed a letter to promise that he would surrender in the event of war with China, the office added.

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Reuters was not able to locate contact details for the colonel, who the prosecutors named as Hsiang Te-en, or a legal representative for comment.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that the officer was suspected of violating national security and anti-corruption laws and that it would continue to cooperate with the investigation.

“This case highlights that the Chinese communists have become a serious threat against us when it comes to infiltrating, recruitment, collection of intelligence and theft of secrets,” the ministry said.

The ministry will continue to strengthen counter-intelligence education for officers and soldiers and deepen security investigations, it added.

($1 = 31.1530 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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