China Executes Military Officer
By Wendell Minnick
TAIPEI - A Chinese military officer has been executed for spying for Taiwan. A report, which appeared in the pro-Beijing daily Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao, said Lt. Dai Yibiao of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was executed on Sept. 5 after a Nanjing Military Court found him guilty of sending 116 classified electronic documents to Taiwan via the Internet.
According to the report, Dai had contacted an unnamed Taiwan intelligence organization in April 2006 via the Internet and received $12,000 for his services.
"Frankly, I have been a bit surprised," said Lin Chong-Pin, former Taiwan deputy minister of defense and now the president of the Taipei-based Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies. "I had the impression that our intelligence network has been badly damaged. The recent arrest, sentence and execution of a 'spy' working for Taiwan in the PLA seems to suggest that our intel work has somehow continued inside the PLA."
Over the past eight years, Taiwan's Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) has seen serious rollbacks of its human intelligence (HUMINT) networks in China as nationalism and better salaries for military officers has made recruitment efforts by the MIB more difficult.
York Chen, a former member of the National Security Council, now with the Institute for Taiwan Defense and Strategic Studies, said J-2 had told him the "main reason of downgrading HUMINT in China is the PLA welfare is much better than before. Our MIB finds it is getting harder to buy them off."
Taiwan's MIB, nicknamed "the Men in Black," once enjoyed wide success in recruiting spies in China. One valued source was the million-plus Taiwan businessmen, many former military veterans, living in China. This created a large pool of potential recruits to ferret out intelligence and serve as talent spotters.
However, since 2000, China has arrested more than 40 alleged Taiwan spies. In 2004, the worst year for Taiwan's intelligence service, China arrested 24 alleged spies. All were Taiwanese businessmen working in China and recruited by the MIB. There have been allegations that the MIB and Taiwan's National Security Bureau have been penetrated by Chinese intelligence and that Taiwan's China operations have been totally compromised.