Taiwanese prosecutors said on Tuesday that they have punished a senior military commander with corruption and damaging national security after claiming that he collected payments from a Chinese agent to serve as a spy and even signed a letter offering to surrender to China.
Taiwan has long fought what it claims is a concerted espionage campaign by Beijing to destroy Taiwan’s military forces and foment discord among its ranks. China regards Taiwan as a “sacred” part of its territory and has never rejected the use of force to gain control of the island.
The prosecutors’ office in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, said they were seeking a 12-year term for an army colonel who had gotten T$560,000 (about $18,000) in bribes from a Chinese agent who was also a retired Taiwanese officer over the previous four years.
According to the report, the retired officer convinced the colonel, who was considering quitting the armed forces, to stay so he could gradually ascend through the ranks and work as a spy.
According to the office, the colonel signed a contract promising to surrender if war broke out with China.
The colonel was named by the prosecutors as Hsiang Te-en.
A request for response from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office was not responded.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry claimed that the officer was suspected of breaking national security and anti-corruption legislation, and that the government will continue to cooperate with the inquiry.
“This instance demonstrates that Chinese communists have become a real threat to us in terms of infiltration, recruiting, intelligence collecting, and secret theft,” the ministry stated.
The ministry will also continue to improve counter-intelligence training for officers and troops, as well as intensify security investigations.