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Former Air Force general suspected in Chinese spy ring out on bail

ROC Central News Agency

08/19/2021 12:55 PM

Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Two retired Air Force officers, including a former major general, were released on bail Thursday morning after overnight questioning by prosecutors about their alleged involvement in a Chinese espionage ring.

Retired Air Force Major General Chien Yao-tung (錢耀棟) and retired Lieutenant Colonel Wei Hsien-yi (魏先儀) were released on bail of NT$200,000 (US$7,171) and NT$300,000, respectively, after being formally named as suspects in the investigation.

Last month, Taiwan's Mirror Media reported that prosecutors were investigating allegations that a Hong Kong businessman, surnamed Tse (謝), had tried to organize a spy ring in Taiwan under instructions from China's Ministry of State Security.

Tse is believed to have cultivated relationships with multiple retired military officers, including Chien and Wei, and arranged dinners and banquets at which they were encouraged to invite other active duty service members, the news outlet reported.

The report also said that former Deputy Defense Minister Chang Che-ping (張哲平) was being investigated for attending several dinners with members of the ring, as well as for allegations that his wife had traveled to Hong Kong at their expense.

Chang, who currently serves as president of National Defense University, said his wife had paid for the trip herself, and denied that he had ever discussed confidential matters at social gatherings.

Chang has not been publicly named as a suspect in the case. He served as deputy defense minister from 2019 until the end of June, when he was transferred to his current post at the university.

On Wednesday, Taipei District Prosecutors Office ordered a national security team at the Investigation Bureau to search the homes of Chien and Wei, and to summon the two for questioning as defendants in the case.

Following overnight interrogations, the prosecutors' office issued bail terms for the two men based on their suspected violations of the National Security Act.

In Taiwan's military, a major general is a one-star general, a rank designation equivalent to that of a brigadier general in many other countries.

(By Lin Chang-shun and Matthew Mazzetta)


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