Taiwan court confirms 14 months in prison for China spy

Appeals are still possible

Zhou Hongxu (in red) in court Thursday.

Zhou Hongxu (in red) in court Thursday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan High Court on Thursday confirmed the 14-month prison sentence for Chinese citizen Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭) based on his attempts to develop a spy ring in Taiwan.

Appeals were still possible, the Central News Agency reported.

Zhou, who once studied in Taiwan, later returned to the island as a businessman and contacted an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) whom he tried to bribe in return for classified information.

However, the official reported his attempt to the authorities, leading to his detention in March last year.

The Taipei District Court sentenced him to 14 months in prison for violations of the National Security Act last September 15, while prosecutors started investigating members of the small pro-unification New Party who had contacts with Zhou.

The Taiwan High Court verdict was followed by a discussion about the detention of the 30-year-old, since his current period of confinement ends on Friday. Zhou applied for bail, but prosecutors said that because his case is complicated and there is still a risk of escape or collusion, he should stay inside, CNA reported. In the end, his detention was extended by two months, though a ban on visits and letters was lifted.

The Taiwan High Court did not rule on the case related to the New Party members because it judged it to be separate and different. In the case of the MOFA official, Zhou was acting on behalf of the Communist Party, while in the case of the New Party politicians, he was working for the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office, the court said.