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Intelligence

Former National Security Bureau officer faces espionage charge

ROC Central News Agency

05/06/2021 07:27 PM

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) An arrest warrant for a former National Security Bureau (NSB) officer was issued on April 23 on charges of defection and espionage, more than two decades after the man fled overseas in the wake of media reports accusing him of embezzling government funds, the NSB said Thursday.

Liu Kuan-chun (劉冠軍), formerly a director of the NSB Cashiers Section with the rank of colonel, is newly accused of surrendering to the Chinese government and engaging in espionage operations, according to the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office.

The maximum penalty for both charges is death.

Liu fled to China in September 2000 after media reports accused him of embezzling about NT$190 million (US$6.7 million) of NSB funds allocated to secret government projects.

An arrest warrant was issued the same month by Taiwanese authorities on charges relating to money laundering and corruption.

However, a recent re-examination of the case determined that Liu could have leaked information from the secret projects for which he was responsible, according to an unnamed official from the high prosecutors office.

Classified documents under those projects were disclosed by the media in 2002, two years after Liu fled the country and some had a watermark that belonged exclusively to a printing machine that was later found to be the printer in Liu's office at the NSB, the official said.

According to the NSB investigation, Liu took those highly classified documents with him when he fled to China.

He is believed to have surrendered those papers to the Chinese authorities and even helped them decipher messages, the investigation found.

In February, the NSB transferred the case to the high prosecutors office, which issued the warrant for Liu's arrest on espionage charges April 23.

Meanwhile, the Shilin District Prosecutors Office, which is in charge of Liu's embezzlement case, in March applied for a court order to confiscate his assets in Taiwan, which are worth about NT$200 million.

However, the whereabouts of Liu, now in his 60s, remains unknown. His wife, Meng Wen-hua (孟雯華), reportedly left Taiwan with their children the day after Liu fled the country.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and Teng Pei-ju)

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