Taiwan charges ten soldiers with spying for China

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Ten former and current Taiwanese military officers were indicted Monday for allegedly spying for Beijing, including two who made a video pledging to “surrender” to the Chinese military, prosecutors said.

China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and has ramped up military and political pressures on the island in recent years.

The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war and have been spying on each other ever since.

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Three of the defendants were accused of recruiting active-duty servicemen to collect military information to “develop a network for China”, the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office said in a statement.

Four officers they enlisted were also charged with handing over “multiple items of military secrets” to Beijing in exchange for money, it said without elaborating on the type of secrets.

Two others - both active-duty officers - allegedly shot a “psychological warfare” video for Beijing in which they said: “I am willing to surrender to the People’s Liberation Army.”

“Active-duty soldiers pledging their allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party is an extremely vicious act,” prosecutors said.

The last defendant was accused of stealing military secrets from a safe at his workplace.

“All the defendants had been or are currently servicemen... but they betrayed their country and the people just because of personal interests... to seriously jeopardise security,” prosecutors said.

“We ask the court to impose a harsher sentence to serve as a warning.”

Monday’s indictment was the latest in a recent string of spying cases on the island.

Last month, a retired air force colonel was sentenced to 20 years in prison for spying for Beijing and handing over confidential national security information.

In August, a father-son duo were indicted for recruiting two soldiers who allegedly helped them to gather information for China about the island’s largest “Han Kuang” military exercises.

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