Chinese agent bribed Taiwan colonel to surrender if war started, prosecutors claim

Prosecutors in Taiwan said Tuesday they had charged a senior military officer with corruption and harming state security after they said he accepted bribes from a Chinese agent to act as a spy and even signed a letter promising to surrender to China.

Taiwan has long battled what it says is a sustained espionage campaign led by Beijing to undermine Taiwan’s armed forces and sow dissent in its ranks. China regards Taiwan as a “sacred” part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

The prosecutor’s office in the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan said it was seeking a 12-year sentence for an army colonel who had received T$560,000 (about $18,000) over the past four years. in bribes from a Chinese agent who was also a retired Taiwanese officer.

The retired officer convinced the colonel, who was considering leaving the armed forces, to stay in the service so he could get promoted and become a spy, he said.

The colonel signed a letter promising to surrender in the event of war with China, the office added.

Prosecutors identified the colonel as Hsiang Te-en.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said the officer was suspected of violating national security and anti-corruption laws and would continue to cooperate with the investigation.

“This case highlights that the Chinese Communists have become a serious threat against us when it comes to infiltration, recruitment, intelligence gathering and theft of secrets,” the ministry said.

The ministry will continue to strengthen counterintelligence education for officers and soldiers and deepen security investigations, he added.

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