Taiwan commits to enacting tighter controls after commander is suspected of spying

Minute Mirror - Subscribe
Minute Mirror - Subscribe

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence has vowed to step up its anti-espionage measures following the arrest of an army lieutenant colonel for allegedly gathering intelligence for China.

The latest case comes at a time when tensions between Taiwan and China, which claims democracy as its territory, are at an all-time low and Beijing is increasing political and military pressure on the island.

On Wednesday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defence responded to accusations in the local media regarding a lieutenant colonel with the last name Hsieh and other individuals “who allegedly were recruited by China to gather intelligence.”

In a statement, the Defence Ministry specifically mentioned Hsieh without confirming or denying that he was being held captive, saying, “The Defence Ministry condemns a small number of personnel… who committed such crimes of betraying the people and the country.”

The military would “continue to strengthen counterintelligence education and enhance security vigilance in response to the Chinese Communists’ infiltration,” it stated.

No information was provided on the suspected offence.

The declaration followed a Central News Agency story that said Hsieh had worked for the army’s Aviation and Special Forces Command in northern Taoyuan County. Central News Agency is a partially state-funded news organization.

According to authorities, he is accused of gathering intelligence and sending it to China through a middleman, according to CNA.

Since the 1949 end of a civil war between Chinese nationalists and communists, Taiwan and China have been spying on one another.

In recent years, several exalted Taiwanese military figures have been charged with spying for Beijing.

A retired Navy senior admiral and a former congressman were indicted in March on suspicion of attempting to create a spy network for China.