Taiwan ex-agent given six years' jail for spying for China

TAIPEI (AFP) - A retired Taiwanese intelligence agent has been jailed for six years after luring his colleagues to China to force them to give up sensitive information, a court spokesman and media said Friday.

Tung Chien-nan, a former Investigation Bureau agent, was jailed on Thursday for violating national intelligence services law, said a Supreme Court official, who declined to elaborate.

The Liberty Times newspaper said he was recruited by Beijing after he retired and tricked several former military intelligence officers to China under the pretext of doing business.

Some were detained on the mainland because they refused to give information to Chinese agents. The case came to light after an ex-agent who was temporarily held in China reported Tung to Taiwanese authorities, the report said.

Taiwan has been hit by a string of spying scandals in recent years, reflecting the fact that intelligence gathering has continued despite warming ties with China.

Although they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, Beijing still regards the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

In February, a former Taiwanese air force lieutenant colonel received 12 life sentences for spying for China for a reported payment of US$269,000 (S$332,943).

In 2011, an army general and chief of an intelligence unit was sentenced to life for spying for China in one of the island's worst espionage scandals.