Former ROC spy barred from departing for Beijing

Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

A former ROC intelligence agent deployed to mainland China, who claims to have suffered a gross loss after Lee Teng-hui ruined his work, was barred yesterday from departing for Beijing. “I have committed no crime! Why don’t you leave me alone? I strongly object to it,” said the 78-year-old former secret agent, Chang Chih-peng, yesterday morning in the Taoyuan-based Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, while he attempted to depart for Beijing via Hong Kong. Chang claimed that he had worked for six years on the mainland for the Military Intelligence Bureau under the Ministry of National Defense.

Chang, who planned to turn himself over to the Beijing government, expressed vehement opposition to the ban issued by the Public Prosecutors Office of the Taiwan High Court. The office reportedly issued the ban after receiving an order by Justice Minister Chen Ding-nan. An official with the prosecutors office said Chang was restricted from entering the mainland on suspicion of espionage. He said Chang had allegedly prepared to leak military secrets to the rival mainland, which poses a major threat to the country’s national security. A prosecutor has been appointed to investigate into case. Chang told reporters earlier this week at a news conference that former President Lee Teng-hui’s leak of a military secret he collected had resulted in huge financial loss, and hardships for friends.

The aged spy said two top officials of the Chinese military — Major General Liu Liankun and Colonel Shao Zhengzhung — told him in early 1996 that the ballistic missiles to be fired to the sea north of Taiwan in a military exercise would only be “dummies” — missiles without warheads. Chang said he quickly provided Taiwan intelligence authorities with the crucial military information. However, according to Chang, former President Lee made public the secret in a speech when he was running for his second term. As a result, Chang said, the two mainland top officials were soon arrested and then executed by the Beijing government. Chang, who maintained personal relations with them, said he felt quite sorry for the loss of their life. Chang, who was a businessmen when he served as secret agent on the mainland, said Lee’s revelation of the secret had caused him to lose his three factories on the mainland. He said the leak also brought disaster to Yao Chia-chen, a manager in one of his factories. Yao, according to Chang, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a mainland court which held she had close relations with Chang. The elderly Chang said he lost three factories and his house in Hong Kong, worth some NT$100 million (US$2.89 million) in total, but intelligence authorities would only provide him with NT$3 million (US$28,900) in compensation. Chang planned to turn himself over to the mainland in a trade for a reduced prison term for Yao Chia-chen. Saying that he would rather die on the mainland than in Taiwan, Chang told reporters that the government would not be capable of stopping him from going to Beijing. He said he would try all the measures, and “I will sneak to the mainland illegally if I have to,” he added. Lawmaker Lee Ching-hua of opposition People First Party yesterday harshly criticized intelligence authorities’ incapability of managing such a crisis. He said he had told Premier Chang Chun-hsiung that the ban on the elderly agent’s leaving the island was not a proper way to resolve the problem.