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Taiwan officer sold off private data to pay lottery debts

Captain leaked data of 400 officers at Mirage base

Taiwan's Mirage 2000 jets.

Taiwan's Mirage 2000 jets. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An officer at the Hsinchu Air Force Base sold the private data of 400 people at the base to pay off his more than NT$1 million (US$32,990) in lottery debts, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported Tuesday.

The base is home to the Air Force’s 56 French-built Mirage 2000 fighters, an essential element in Taiwan’s defense against the threat from China.

The case reportedly came to light when the member of a syndicate phoned the base telling the military he had a list of 400 names with cell phone and other private information and asking them to persuade the officer, a captain named Chang (張), to pay his debts.

On the base, the captain’s main task was handling issues related to electronic warfare, giving him easy access to confidential information, the Liberty Times reported.

Chang reportedly became addicted to playing the lottery, leading him to loan a total of more than NT$1 million from 12 underground syndicates last October. After one of the creditors learned he worked as an officer at the Air Force base and was involved with data management, he asked for a list of names which he promised could lead to a postponement of due interest payments.

Chang reportedly printed ten pages with the data of 40 officers each and handed the list over to his creditor in early December at the gas station across the road from the base, according to the Liberty Times. The creditor reportedly wired NT$3,000 (US$99) into an account which by then had however been taken over by another syndicate.

Fearing the repercussions of the list of personal data leaking, Chang tried to buy the information back, but the creditor demanded the payment of his debts first.

As the officer failed to come up with the required funds, the creditor phoned the base, where another officer managed to persuade him to send him pictures of the list by Line.

As a result, the military police intervened and the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office indicted Chang last week, the report said.