China – Naval officer questioned over submarine espionage probe

// TAIPEI–A rear admiral was questioned by military prosecutors last week in connection with an investigation into alleged leaks of submarine nautical charts to China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.

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The rear admiral was summoned as part of an inquiry into a suspected espionage case involving Chang Chih-hsin, a former chief officer in charge of political warfare at the Naval Meteorology Oceanography (METOC) Office, MND spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said.

Luo did not reveal the name or position of the naval officer or further details of the case, because of the need to maintain confidentiality in the ongoing legal case.

The Chinese-language United Daily News (UDN) first reported the new twist in the case Monday.

It said that a senior naval officer in active service was questioned for a full day and overnight last week and has since been transferred to Navy Command Headquarters to facilitate follow-up inquiries after serving as commander of a fleet.

Military sources said the Navy has assigned another officer to take over the rear admiral’s job.

The Defense Ministry confirmed last October that Chang Chih-hsin was arrested a month earlier on suspicion of obtaining classified information through former military colleagues and using it for illegal gains, but it denied that his actions had resulted in the exposure of military secrets.

According to the latest UDN report, Chang, along with a lieutenant at the Naval Fleet Command and a retired missile officer in the Navy, has been detained and indicted on charges of leaking military secrets for illegal gains.

The report further said the trio had told prosecutors that they interacted closely with an active service naval real admiral.

After investigating the claims and collecting evidence for several months, military prosecutors decided to summon the suspect for questioning last week, the report said.

Although the senior officer was released after questioning, military prosecutors are still investigating his possible role in the case, the report said.

The newspaper quoted military sources as saying that if the officer was found to have been involved in spying, it would represent the worst espionage scandal since the “Lo Hsien-che” case.

Lo, an Army general who was lured by a honey trap into spying for China during his time at Taiwan’s representative office in Thailand, was sentenced to life in prison and has been in jail since July 2011.

Although relations across the Taiwan Strait have improved significantly over the past five years, China has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan, and it continues to actively spy on the self-governed island it claims as its own, often through active or retired Taiwanese military officers.

Source – The China Post

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