Travel to Hong Kong or Macau restricted for Taiwan submarine personnel

Staff involved in construction of the IDS are privy to highly classified information and face traveling restrictions due to security reasons

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Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Personnel working on the Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) have had to sign a "Defense Manufacturer Security Management" confidentiality agreement that forbids them from entering China or transiting through Hong Kong and Macau, according to Up Media.

The IDS has been described by Taiwan’s Navy as of the "utmost importance.” The National Institute of Science and Technology is involved in the development and integration of up to 12 kinds of combat system equipment within the vessel.

Weighing over 2,500 tons and 70 meters in length, construction of the submarine is mostly managed by Taiwan’s Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC). All personnel involved in the construction and design of the submarine are now forbidden from passing through Hong Kong and Macau.

The customs computer system in Hong Kong and Macau has a direct notifying mechanism that connects to China’s national security apparatus. There is a risk that any Taiwanese on China’s national security watch list could be targeted and detained at a Hong Kong or Macau airport.

Retired armed forces personnel are also discouraged from transiting through Hong Kong and Macau. CSBC personnel privy to classified information about Taiwan’s ships must have all business or leisure travel plans approved.

Personal mobile phones and email accounts must also be registered with the armed forces. Mobile phones must not be China-manufactured, and must have special Taiwanese Armed Forces smartphone management software installed on them.

The IDS manufacturing plant, which incorporates a face recognition monitoring system, has different access control measures according to the floor. If unauthorized persons are detected inside or outside the plant, the system will immediately issue a security warning.

It is estimated the IDS prototype will be ready by 2025, according to CNA. The government has allocated NT$49 billion over seven years to build the indigenous submarine, with the goal of boosting Taiwan's defense capabilities amid China's growing military threat.