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Air Force Major jailed 20 yrs for selling military secrets

Air Force Major jailed 20 yrs for selling military secrets

Major Hau Chih-hsiung, a former staff officer at the ROC Air Force’s 439th Wing in Pingtung, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday for selling military secrets in a case that began some five years ago. Hau was found guilty of violating national laws regarding military secrets for turning over information on the E-2K Hawkeye AWACS system to Wan Tsung-lin in return for a payment of NT$210,000. The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Hau’s lawyer and upheld his conviction for violating state secrecy laws, corruption and other crimes along with a sentence of 20 years in prison. The court also upheld Wan’s conviction and a sentence of 14-1/2 years in prison.

The Hau case is viewed as a serious breach of security for the Air Force because of the sensitivity of the Hawkeye and its electronic and communications capabilities. The E-2K AWACS aircraft can function as an airborne command and control center at an altitude of 30,000 feet when ground systems are damaged or destroyed. It can monitor aircraft movements within 550 kilometers while carrying on vital data transmissions and communications within the military command chain. The loss of data in the case aroused fears that Taiwan’s security had been endangered and also created tensions regarding continued military cooperation between Taiwan and the US.

The Hau case was uncovered by the Investigation Bureau in June 2013 during what was originally a narcotics investigation. Agents were surprised to learn that a drug case suspect surnamed Wang who had fled to China had been turned by intelligence operatives to spy on behalf of the PRC. Wang then acted to gather data and military intelligence through Wan Tsung-lin.

Wan was the owner of a karaoke frequented by Hau near the 439th Wing Air Force Base in Pingtung. Between 2010 and 2103 Hau handed over data and information related to the E-2K program to Wan a total of four times. Wan received a payment of NT$1 million for his efforts, of which he gave Hau NT$210,000 and pocketed the rest.

Hau penned a series of messages detailing his actions and regret over the damage he had done to Taiwan and its defense establishment. He wrote about "so many sleepless nights that turned me into a wasted zombie, full of despair and wandering aimlessly through long days and nights in a half-awake trance." His confession has been edited and used in anti-spy training materials for the Ministry of National Defense.

Updated : 2021-09-17 20:57 GMT+08:00