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Transitional Justice Commission report reveals martial law-era spy network details

KMT government kept tabs on 'criminal activities' with network of 30,000 informants

Transitional Justice Commission logo. (Facebook, Transitional Justice Commission)

Transitional Justice Commission logo. (Facebook, Transitional Justice Commission)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau deployed more than 30,000 spies across Taiwan in the 1980s, according to a National Taiwan University report commissioned by the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC).

Titled "Study on campus and societal surveillance in the period of authoritarianism," the report was conducted by the TJC between July 2019 and March 2021. It pointed out the Kuomintang (KMT) government monitored countless citizens and organizations extensively to keep track of ongoing security issues and criminal activities.

According to a 1981 Investigation Bureau work manual, out of 30,000 informants, 40% were evenly distributed around Taiwan’s administrative districts, while 60% were deployed at all levels of the nation’s social structure.

The report also revealed that student associations and religious groups were often infiltrated and members would be recruited as informants. These spies would usually liaise with government agents and receive instructions from the Investigation Bureau via local offices.

The Investigation Bureau also established a second spy network by deploying about 1,000 spies at colleges and universities across the nation.

Updated : 2021-12-07 12:21 GMT+08:00