China Infiltrates Taiwan's MIB – Again
By WENDELL MINNICK
TAIPEI - The arrests of two Taiwanese men allegedly working for China has again shaken the military intelligence establishment here.
Taiwan and U.S. defense analysts say the arrests are further evidence that China has thoroughly penetrated Taiwan's Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB).
Col. Lo Chi-cheng of the MIB and Taiwanese businessman Lo Pin are accused of supplying Beijing with the identities of MIB agents working in China. Both men were arrested Nov. 1. The number of MIB spies compromised since the two began giving information to China in 2007 was not revealed.
The MIB is responsible for collecting military intelligence within China and has a history of recruiting Taiwanese businessmen working in China.
Taiwan Premier Wu Den-yih told the legislature Nov. 2 that the government has a responsibility to protect exposed MIB agents in China and find ways to have them safely returned home.
The MIB recruited Lo Pin in 2005 to collect intelligence in China, but after a year, Chinese authorities arrested and allegedly tortured him. Lo Pin agreed to return to Taiwan as a double agent and recruited his MIB handler, Lo Chi-cheng, paying him about $100,000 over four years.
The arrests again put the spotlight on Taiwan's ability to keep secrets and its failure to penetrate China.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed the arrests but downplayed the significance of the intelligence sold to China. MND spokesman Yu Sy-tue said the information had a limited impact on military intelligence operations.
The arrests add to a growing list of Chinese espionage cases in Taiwan:
■ In 2008, Taiwanese authorities arrested Wang Hui-hsien, a retired MIB colonel, for identifying MIB officers and agents to China over the course of six years.
■ In 2007, Lin Yu-nung, an agent in the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB), and Chen Chih-kao, a retired MJIB agent working in Shanghai, were arrested for collecting data on MJIB counterintelligence agents for China.
■ The MIB faced its biggest crisis in 2004, when more than 30 Taiwanese businessmen and one MIB officer were arrested in raids across China. The crackdown demonstrated China's growing confidence at locating and identifying Taiwanese agents.
China has also been successful at using Taiwanese to recruit spies in the U.S. government. During the past three years, two U.S. government officials were arrested and convicted of spying for China. James Fondren, a former official with the U.S. Pacific Command, and Gregg Bergersen, an official with the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, were recruited to spy for China by Tai Shen Kuo, a Taiwanese arms dealer who worked for various U.S. defense companies.