Taipei-Retired Army Lt. Col. Cheng Chih-wen (???) and his father, Cheng Chao-ming (???), chairman of the Taiwan Labor Party, were indicted Tuesday for spying and trying to recruit military personnel to work for China in violation of the National Security Act.
After receiving a tip-off in July, the Tainan District Prosecutors Office found that the Chengs had meetings in third countries with Chinese intelligence officers and tried to recruit active military personnel in Taiwan on Beijing's behalf.
Because of those actions, taken even though the Chengs knew that under Taiwan's law, China is defined as an enemy, prosecutors charged the two Taiwanese men with violating the National Security Act by collaborating with Chinese intelligence.
Arguing that the Chengs' behavior had severely undermined national security and eroded military discipline, they requested jail terms for the two of them ranging from three years to three years and eight months.
According to the National Security Act, people are prohibited from delivering any confidential information or developing an organization for official use of a foreign country or mainland China.
In a statement outlining the charges, the prosecutors office did not offer any specific evidence on whether or not the Chengs actually developed an organization in Taiwan for China's use or passed on confidential information.
They simply pointed to Cheng Chao-ming as a coordinator of several groups promoting exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
As outlined in the statement, the indictment seems to focus mostly on activities outside of Taiwan involving meetings with Chinese officials.
Cheng first arranged a meeting in Japan in 2009 between his son, then a lieutenant colonel in the army, and a Chinese intelligence officer surnamed Li (?) at Li's behest.
During the meeting, Li asked Cheng Chih-wen about his duties in the army, anti-independence sentiment in the military, and military morale and gave him a ceramic gift and US$1,000 through his father, the statement said.
The next year, Li invited the Chengs to Singapore to meet with two other Chinese people of unknown identity.
Li and the two others made clear they were working for a united front agency in China's Fujian Province and said they hoped the younger Cheng could get other active military personnel to meet them in third countries, according to the statement.
They also expressed the hope that if China used force to take Taiwan in the future, Cheng Chih-wen would exercise his influence in the military to support unification.
Cheng then signed what the prosecutors described as a "cross-strait mutual trust agreement" during the meeting, without explaining what it contained, and received US$1,000 and a watch from Li, prosecutors said in the statement.
After the younger Cheng retired from the army, Li continued to urge him to arrange meetings with active military personnel.
In 2016, Cheng brought another military officer surnamed Chen with him to Malaysia and arranged a meeting between Li and Chen in Kuala Lumpur.
Cheng and Chen also met with Li in Vietnam in 2017 and 2018, and after each meeting, Li gave the two money for travel in both U.S. dollars and Chinese yuan.
In February of this year, Cheng even reported Chen's job transfer in the military to Li through Chinese communication software, according to the statement.
Prosecutors said the Chengs worked for Chinese intelligence officers and helped them recruit Taiwanese military officers to develop an organization, the statement said, though it offered no detail on how extensive the organization actually was.
Though Chen is suspected of accepting benefits from Chinese officials, he is considered a witness, and his case will be handed over to the Ministry of National Defense, according to the statement.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel