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8 retired Taiwan military and police officers held in China in past year! This is an original article from CNA FOCUS TAIWAN!

Liang Wen-chieh, deputy head and spokesperson of the Mainland Affairs Council. CNA photo June 20, 2024

Taipei, June 20 (CNA) At least eight Taiwanese retired military and police personnel have been detained in China in the past year, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday, urging individuals with similar backgrounds to stay cautious if they travel there.

Chinese authorities wanted to gather information about the individuals, specifically regarding their work, colleagues and networks, Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑), deputy head and spokesperson of the MAC, Taiwan’s top government agency handling cross-strait affairs, said at a press conference.

When asked how long the eight people were held for, Liang replied “The durations vary,” without elaborating.

Such detentions could be an attempt to recruit individuals to work for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Liang said, citing cases prosecuted in the past few years involving retired military personnel working for the CCP.

“Seniors recruit juniors, superiors recruit subordinates, and even former comrades introduce one another,” Liang added.

One of the recent espionage cases involving Taiwanese military personnel being recruited by the Chinese centered around Liu Sheng-shu (劉聖恕), a retired Air Force colonel, who served as a spy and used his connections within the military to recruit active Navy and Air Force officers to engage in espionage.

In April last year, Liu and six officers were indicted for violating the Classified National Security Information Protection Act, and later in the year, the Taiwan High Court branch in Kaohsiung found six of the seven defendants, including Liu, guilty.

Liu was sentenced to 20 years in prison and his illegal gains paid by China were seized.

Meanwhile, two anglers surnamed Hu (胡) and Wu (吳) from the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands were detained by Chinese authorities after they went astray during a fishing trip and were rescued by the Chinese coast guard on March 17.

Wu and his fishing boat were handed over to the Kinmen coast guard by Chinese officials on March 23, but Hu, an active soldier whose retirement had been approved on May 8, has not yet been released by Chinese authorities.

When asked about the case, Liang said the MAC has used several channels to communicate with the Chinese side in an attempt to expedite the return of Hu, but has received no response.

“This incident has now lasted for over three months — no matter what needs to be investigated, it shouldn’t take longer than that,” Liang said, adding that the MAC is not clear on the reason for the long period of detention.

He said that in the waters between Kinmen and Xiamen, there has always been an understanding between the two sides regarding low-level incidents, such as anglers going astray.

“When we rescue their people, we send them back, and in the past, they did the same,” Liang noted. “Why this incident is an exception is something we honestly cannot understand.”

As of now, the Chinese authorities have not classified the incident as immigration-related or suggested Hu committed a crime, they have only confirmed he is being held due to his military background, he added.

Chen Binhua (陳斌華), spokesman of the Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said on March 22 that Hu was being held because he “intentionally fabricated information about his occupation in an attempt to conceal it,” noting that the relevant authorities needed to verify Hu’s identity to fully understand the situation.

On May 15, Chen said information related to the event “is still being verified.”

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