Alleged Chinese spymaster, wife visited Taiwan multiple times

Alleged Chinese spymaster, wife barred from leaving Taiwan as investigation continues

Xiang Xin (center, rear) (Facebook Taiwan Green Party photo)

Xiang Xin (center, rear) (Facebook Taiwan Green Party photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A suspected spymaster and his wife — who a Chinese defector on Saturday (Nov. 23) claimed had recruited him — have often visited Taiwan and said their latest trip was to "see friends" and "discuss investment matters," according to an initial investigation.

Self-proclaimed Chinese spy Wang "William" Liqiang (王立強) on Saturday identified China Innovation Investment Ltd. (CIIL, 中國創新投資) CEO Xiang Xin (向心) as having recruited him as a spy, on Australia's 60 Minutes. Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) agents arrested Xiang, his wife, and alternate board member Kung Ching (龔青) as they prepared to board a plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday evening (Nov. 24), reported UDN.

On Monday evening (Nov. 25) at 9:30 p.m. the couple was transferred to the Taipei District Prosecutor's Office on suspicion of breaching the National Security Act, reported CNA. On Tuesday morning (Nov. 26) at 2 a.m. the Prosecutor's Office imposed an exit ban to prevent them from leaving the country.

Having been alerted to the 60 Minutes report, MJIB and the National Security Bureau announced there would be an investigation and contacted the Australian authorities for further information. Agents discovered the couple arrived in Taiwan on Thursday (Nov. 21) and were scheduled to leave the country for Hong Kong on Sunday evening.

MJIB immediately contacted the National Immigration Agency (NIA) and dispatched agents to arrest the couple at the airport. They informed them they were being investigated due to the allegations leveled by Wang, and the pair immediately hired Taiwanese lawyers for their defense.

CII CEO Xiang Xin (CIIL website image)

Based on the preliminary investigation, Xiang and Kung have often visited Taiwan, reported CNA. On this occasion, the couple claimed they had come to "see friends and meet with business people to discuss investment matters."

The couple has provided a list of people they met during their trip and there were no political figures, according to the report. The couple was said to have cooperated during the investigation and answered all questions, but denied Wang's accusations.

The Prosecutor's Office determined the relevant evidence needs to be verified, and is investigating them for violating the National Security Act. The Prosecutor's Office has released the couple on bail, but imposed an exit ban to prevent them from leaving the country.

CIIL statement denying charges, and Xiang Xin (CIIL website images)

Some local media outlets reported that during the investigation, prosecutors showed the couple a photo of them posing with Wang at a social event, leaving "Xiang speechless." However, investigators deny this incident took place, reported CNA.

According to CIIL's website, the company claims it was incorporated in the Cayman Islands in February 2002 and listed on Hong Kong's stock exchange in August the same year. However, Wang alleged that CIIL, which has an office on Des Voeux Road Central in Hong Kong, was actually established by the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department to "penetrate Hong Kong's financial market and collect military intelligence," reported UDN.

Wang claimed the Chinese government used CIIL as a conduit to provide funding to several Taiwan news companies, in order to spread Chinese propaganda. He said that CTi News, Chinese television (CTV), and EBC News had all agreed to support China and Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), after receiving a total of RMB$1.5 billion (US$210 million), Stand News reported.