TAIPEI, Taiwan - A total of 33 espionage cases that involved Taiwanese nationals who served as Chinese spies have been busted by the National Security Bureau (NSB) over the past five years, the NSB's chief said yesterday.
Fielding questions during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan, NSB Director-General Lee Shying-jow said all of the 33 cases were processed after the bureau found solid evidence to bring accusations forward against the suspects.
These cases are all now either being investigated by prosecutors or undergoing legal proceedings, Lee noted.
Asked by lawmakers to disclose more details about the cases, Lee said that the suspects who are found involved in espionage cases include R.O.C. citizens who served as spies for mainland China who passed confidential information to the other side of the Taiwan Strait.
Suspects that have caused more severe security concerns are those who have previously served as Taiwanese intelligence workers but later became Chinese spies after retirement, he noted.
The bureau is doing its best to stop espionage activities that could pose a serious threat to national security, Lee said.
Lee made the comments during an interpellation session at a meeting of the Legislature's National Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee.
During the same session yesterday, lawmakers passed a preliminary review on an amendment to the National Intelligence Service Act that will increase sentences for former intelligence agents who are later found serving as spies for a foreign country.
Amendment to Give Harsher Sentence to Agents-turned-spies
According to the amendment, those found passing confidential information to foreign countries and who have caused damage to national security will face a 3- to 10-year prison term.
Retired intelligence agents who are later found serving as spies for foreign countries within a year after his or her retirement will have to serve an additional 50-per cent longer sentence than others, according to the amendment.
Also, to encourage spies to turn themselves in, the latest amendment stipulates that those who are accused of espionage activities but confess their crimes during investigation and lead to the apprehension of other spies will be given lighter sentences.
Following the preliminary review, the amendment to the National Intelligence Service Act still has to clear the Legislative floor before officially taking effect.