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Army officer gets transferred as espionage probe spreads

ROC Central News Agency

2013/02/05 19:45:01

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday that an Army officer has been transferred after one of his relatives was found to have been allegedly involved in an espionage case.

Media reports said Army Maj. Gen. Wu Chin-chun, who originally headed the MND's legislative liaison office, was transferred to a non-leadership position last week over his relative's alleged involvement in the case in which Chang Chih-hsin, a former chief officer in charge of political warfare at the Naval Meteorology Oceanography (METOC) Office, was detained last September on suspicion of obtaining classified information through former military colleagues and using it for illegal gains.

MND spokesman Mag. Gen. Luo Shou-he said Wu had been temporarily reassigned to help with the investigation into his relative's alleged role in the case. He did not elaborate.

Wu, reportedly a trusted aide to Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu, was the second senior military officer to be named in as many days as having been transferred after being accused of involvement in Chang's suspected leaks of submarine nautical charts to China.

On Monday, the MND confirmed that a rear admiral had been questioned by military prosecutors the previous week in connection with the investigation into the case.

The ministry stopped short of revealing the officer's name.

The Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) first reported the new twist in the case that same day.

It said that a senior naval officer in active service was questioned the previous week and transferred to Navy Command Headquarters to facilitate follow-up inquiries after serving as a fleet commander.

The paper also said that Chang, along with a lieutenant at Naval Fleet Command and a retired missile officer in the Navy, had been detained and indicted on charges of leaking military secrets for illegal gain.

On Tuesday, the UDN further revealed Wu's relative's alleged connection with the case.

The paper said military prosecutors were still questioning Wu's relative in order to determine whether to summon Wu for questioning.

Although the Defense Ministry confirmed for the first time last October the arrest of Chang, it denied that his actions resulted in the exposure of military secrets.

The ministry said at that time that the ministry had taken anti-espionage measures to minimize the possible risk of exposure of classified intelligence thanks to early tipoffs.

Nevertheless, the UDN quoted military sources as saying that if the naval officer is found to have been involved in spying, it would represent the worst espionage scandal since the case of Lo Hsien-che.

Lo, an Army general who was lured by a honey trap sting into spying for China during his posting at Taiwan's representative office in Thailand, was sentenced to life in prison and has been in jail since July 2011.

Although relations across the Taiwan Strait have improved significantly over the past five years, China has never renounced the use of force against Taiwan and continues to spy on the self-governed island it claims as its own, often through active or retired Taiwanese military officers.

(By Rogge Chen and Sofia Wu)

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