TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Taiwan has detained an army officer and several associates suspected of passing military secrets to China.
The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that a lieutenant colonel named Hsieh and other defendants were suspected of being recruited by China to leak national defense secrets and other information.
The withholdings come as military tensions between China and Taiwan continue to rise. China claims self-governing Taiwan as its own territory and has run a long-running campaign to recruit retired Taiwanese military personnel to provide state secrets in exchange for money or gifts.
Hsieh is also suspected of developing a spy organization made up of current and retired military personnel tasked with gathering intelligence for China, according to the Taipei Times newspaper, which cited unnamed prosecutors from Taiwan’s High Prosecution Service.
The office did not immediately respond to emails asking questions about the case.
“The Ministry of National Defense is saddened and severely condemns the small number of unscrupulous people who violated the duty to defend the country and committed such crimes as betraying the people of the country,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
A retired army major and three other people have also been questioned in the case and released on bail between 20,000 New Taiwan Dollars ($630) and 600,000 New Taiwan Dollars ($19,000), according to the Taipei Times.
Last month, Taiwanese authorities detained five people, including a Chinese yo-yo instructor, on suspicion of spying for China.