Sunday, July 18, 2010

'Tourist' may have been guided by PRC intel

Information has come to light that could indicate that a Chinese tourist who was caught in May last year taking photos in a restricted area of an army recruitment center in downtown Taipei may have been directed by Chinese intelligence.

On May 25 last year, Ma Zhongfei (馬中飛), a Chinese tourist who reportedly was chairman of a high-tech company, left his tour group at Taipei 101 and ended up at an Armed Forces recruitment center on Keelung Road, about 2km away from the landmark. After entering a computer warfare command area through a back door, Ma was caught by security taking photos in the computer warfare command area.

While the recruitment center is open to the general public, the computer warfare command area is a restricted facility.

After being apprehended by military police, Ma was handed over to the Taiwan High Prosecutors’ Office for investigation on suspicion of illegally intruding into a military area.

The following day, a prosecutor ordered Ma’s release and did not bar him from leaving Taiwan. The Ministry of Justice said it didn’t have sufficient evidence to indict him.

A former government official who handled intelligence matters under the former Democratic Progressive Party administration told the Taipei Times last week that the Ma case was far more alarming than it first appeared and hinted that political intervention may have played a role in the decision not to charge him.

This article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

4 comments:

green sleeeves said...

Isn't is a "coincidence" that Ma would have called for closer ties with Russia, while 10 spies were identified in the US posing as regular citizens?

Obama has been notorious to appease China and Russia.

Ma Ing Jeou, in addition to China, would add Russia to his list?

Not surprising anyhow, China and Russia have always put up a united front to veto proposals in the UN, including sanction to Iran and North Korea.

mike said...

Thank you Mike Cole. I have profound differences with you, and I am not looking for common ground, but this is a very important story that should have been the chief front page headline. Knocking it back into the "Taiwan News" section - what the hell was your chief editor thinking? And is there any chance that this story might run?

MikeinTaipei said...

Hi Michael:

Yes, I believe this is an important story, too. As to why it was relegated to page 3 rather than on the front page — I was off on that day and it was a day during which a lot of things were happening. It should also be noted that the event covered in my piece happened more than a year ago. Should it still have run on the front page? Perhaps, and I hoped it would, too. But it wasn't my call to make (it would have been had I worked that day, as I am also deputy news chief at the paper).

As for the Liberty Times article, the original, titled 國安高層要求停止中國佈建, is available here:

http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2009/new/feb/13/today-fo1.htm

Regarding our "profound differences," Mike, there's no problem with that. We can't all agree on everything, even when we're technically on the same team!

All good wishes

mike said...

Mike,

Thanks for the link to the LT report. As to your disclaimers - I can let you have your day off (maybe), but as to the fact that the events happened a year ago - surely that is even more reason why it should have been a front page headliner. Quelle outrage...

I would have thought that, with both papers - the LT and the TT - the broadly anti-Beijing (for temporary want of a more accurate and nuanced term) editorial direction would pretty much necessitate that stories such as this be given maximum exposure.

That being the case, I would think your editorial mate at the TT should have had a bollocking...