The Taipei Times reported today that a PRC citizen who took photos at a military base in Taipei was arrested. AFP reported that he had been released, but the Taipei Times report said he had been taken into custody....
Military police had detained the tourist, Ma Zhongfei (馬中飛), chairman of a high-tech company in China, for taking photos of military property at the Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Taipei. He was placed under arrest late on Monday night and detained for questioning.There's a story going around that the firm that invited him is just an empty desk, but I haven't been able to confirm it. It doesn't really seem believable that a PRC spy could be so clumsy. The real threat isn't from tourists taking photos of facilities, but from PRC sabotage experts, prostitutes, gangsters, and the like. The PRC already has much better information on Taiwan's defense network than any tourist photos could provide -- although it is true that lax security at Taiwan's military facilities is often identified by outsiders as a signficant problem. As Lawrence Eyton wrote seven years ago....
Taipei prosecutors said they transferred the case to the Taiwan High Court Prosecutors’ Office at midnight on Monday because the case fell under the High Court’s jurisdiction.
Prosecutor Tseng Chiun-che (曾俊哲) yesterday took Ma back to the recruitment center to question him about the exact locations where he had taken photos and where he had aimed his camera.
This would be important in determining Ma’s reasons for taking the photos, prosecutors said.
Ma told prosecutors that he came to Taiwan on a nine-day tour and had planned to return to China today.
He left his tour group on Monday afternoon saying he was going to Sindian (新店) in Taipei County to pay his respects to a deceased Taiwanese friend. As he traveled along Keelung Road, he stopped at the recruitment center and took some pictures.
It also follows the release of an alarming statistic by the Ministry of National Defense according to which more than 3,000 former Taiwan military officers are now either doing business or working in "consultancies" in mainland China.And of course, at least one of the political parties on Taiwan has formed an alliance with the CCP...
UPDATE: J Michael has an awesome post on this. Note that the alleged tourist has been released on his own recognizance and is free to return to China.
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