Taiwan ex-Vice President's bodyguard arrested as Chinese spy

Democratic Progressive Party legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) proposed an enhanced punishment for retired military officials who commit espionage for Chi(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A retired national security special service task force commander who served as a bodyguard for former Vice President of Taiwan Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) was found to have engaged in spying operations for the Chinese intelligence agency after his military tenure. Several other spying operations made known to the public the past week include the news that at least 5,000 Chinese spies have infiltrated Taiwan's military and government, and the detention of a Chinese student for spying.

Retired commander Wang Hong-ru (王鴻儒), aged 46, has been taken into custody with no visits allowed on a court decision for allegedly acting as a Chinese spy, local media reported Thursday. Wang was tracked down by Taiwan's investigation bureau years after an espionage ring busted in 2010 in which a China-based Taiwanese businessman, Ho Chih-chiang (何志強), was sentenced to 1 year and 2 months in prison for violating national security. Ho was reported by his recruitment target for attempting to collect Taiwanese national security secrets regarding the analysis of intelligence reports on the Falun Gong in Taiwan, the country's Japan policy, confidential diplomatic activities, a name list of those engaging in overseas national security efforts and a routing algorithm for a national security communications satellite.

Wang served as a bodyguard for Lu in the period between mid 2002 and late 2003 before his retirement. He then traveled to China to run a business and years after, in 2009, he was recruited by a Chinese intelligence unit in Shanghai as a spy for China in exchange for business privileges and substantial amounts of money as "service charge.” Wang teamed up with the businessman Ho to establish an espionage ring in Taiwan.

Taiwan's investigation bureau found that Wang had tried to lure a former colleague surnamed Tseng, who was then serving at the Military Police Command under the Ministry of National Defense, by offering a sum equating to several times his pension. A complimentary trip to Singapore to meet a high-level Chinese intelligence official was said to be arranged by Wang but Tseng didn't buy it.

Wang has been in custody since Tuesday with no visits allowed according to a court decision. The investigation bureau and the prosecutors office are still jointly investigating the case. The other accomplices in Wang's ring are expected to be discovered soon, media reported.  

Over the past few years, several espionage rings were busted, which mostly consisted of retired Taiwanese military officers who were recruited by their Chinese counterparts or intelligence units.