Taiwan prosecutors said Tuesday they have charged a senior military officer with corruption and harming state security after they say he took bribes from a Chinese agent to act as a spy and even signed a letter pledging to surrender to China.
Taiwan has fought long battles against what it describes as an ongoing spying campaign run by Beijing to undermine the Taiwanese armed forces and sow discord in its ranks. China considers Taiwan a “sacred” part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.
The public prosecutor’s office in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City said they are seeking 12 years in prison for an army colonel who over the past four years took bribes worth NT$560,000 (about US$18,000) from a Chinese agent who was also a retired Taiwanese officer.
She added that the retired officer persuaded the colonel, who was considering leaving the armed forces, to remain in the service so that he could gradually move up the ranks and work as a spy.
The office added that the colonel signed a letter pledging to surrender in the event of war with China.
Prosecutors identified the colonel as Hsiang T-in.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the officer was accused 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 to us when it comes to infiltration, recruitment, intelligence gathering and theft of secrets,” the ministry said.
She added that the ministry will continue to enhance the education of officers and soldiers in the field of counterintelligence and deepen security investigations.