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THREE SUSPECTS INDICTED ON CHARGES OF SPYING FOR MAINLAND CHINA

2004-04-02 18:38:06

    Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Three men, including a middle-ranking technician with the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST) , were indicted Friday on charges of spying for mainland China.

    The Public Prosecutors' Office of the Taiwan High Court said in the indictment that the trio had helped give Beijing a glimpse into the Taiwan air force's weaponry systems and to break through the U.S. ban on arms sales to the mainland.

    The three espionage suspects were identified as Chen Shih-liang, 53, a technician at the CIST's Electronics Research Institute; Yeh Wen-yuan, 55, a technology firm CEO who received training at the CIST's electronics system design center; and Hsu Hsi-tse, 58, a retired Chinese-American aerospace engineer who once worked at Boeing Co.

    The trio were arrested last August. After nearly eight months of investigation, prosecutors said the trio were found to have committed a number of crimes, including disclosing national defense secrets, document forgery and offenses to the national security law and the trade law.

    According to the indictment, Yeh got acquainted with a mainland intelligence officer in 1991 during a trip to the mainland. Yeh later set up a precision measurement equipment manufacturing firm on the mainland and also opened a high-tech firm in Taiwan.

    The mainland intelligence agent, surnamed Hsu, then asked Yeh to help collect Taiwan defense intelligence and purchase banned strategic high-tech products from the United States and major European countries.

    Yeh began in October 2002 to collect documents concerning the CIST's facilities and classified research programs with the assistance of Chen Shih-liang, who worked at the CIST's radar research department. The documents included an evaluation report on whether Taiwan should join the U.S.-initiated theater missile defense (TMD) program. Yeh personally brought the documents to his mainland handler, earning at least US$26,000 from the deal.

    The indictment further says that Yeh made friends with Hsu Hsi-tse in February 2002. Hsu resided in Los Angeles but often traveled to Taiwan and the mainland for business purposes. As Hsu needed Yeh's assistance in lobbying the mainland to purchase airport flight control systems, he agreed to help gather information about Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation programs and collected information about Taiwan-U.S. cooperation in anti-submarine combat training.

    Hsu is also accused of having hacked into the U.S. government's classified files to steal information about F-16 fighters' night-time weaponry systems and strategic data links. U.S.-made F-16s, along with French-made Mirages and locally built IDFs, form the backbone of Taiwan's air force.

    Meanwhile, Yeh helped the mainland authorities to purchase a number of sensitive high-tech facilities, including PalmIR50 night photography machines and a variety of night-vision equipment, sale of which to the mainland have been prohibited by the United States since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

    Yeh also counterfeited CIST "end-user certificates, " which allowed Hsu to purchase sophisticated strategic night-vision equipment for the mainland. The devices were sent to Taiwan first and then brought to the mainland by Yeh himself.

(By Sofia Wu)

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