Taipei, Nov. 10 (CNA) Taiwan’s top government watchdog on Friday impeached former Army colonel Hsiang Te-en (向德恩) for accepting bribes from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) following a unanimous vote a day earlier.
Hsiang’s impeachment was confirmed during a meeting on Thursday following a 13-0 vote, the Control Yuan, which is responsible for disciplining civil servants, said in a statement on Friday.
The case, initiated by Control Yuan members Lin Wen-cheng (林文程), Tsai Chung-yi (蔡崇義), and Lai Ting-ming (賴鼎銘), will now be sent to the Disciplinary Court, according to the statement.
According to the indictments released by the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office in November 2022, then-Colonel Hsiang was approached by Shao Wei-chiang (邵維強), a former reporter posted in Kinmen County, who allegedly persuaded Hsiang to work for the Chinese government by ” not putting up any resistance” in the event of a cross-strait war.
With Shao’s assistance, Hsiang signed a statement in 2020 declaring that he would work steadily in his job (as a Taiwanese military officer) for his home country (China) to aid its noble cause of helping the two sides of the Taiwan Strait achieve “peaceful reunion,” the indictment said.
Hsiang was found guilty of accepting monthly bribes of NT$40,000 (US$1,236) since 2019 from a CCP-linked organization, totaling NT$560,000, according to the indictment.
He was handed a prison term of 90 months after being found guilty of corruption during the first trial in February this year, which he appealed. Taiwan High Court’s Kaohsiung Branch upheld the ruling in September.
Shao, also a retired military officer, was tried for bribery and breaching the National Security Act, and received a 15-year jail sentence from the Kinmen District Court in May.
In the Control Yuan statement, Lin, Tsai and Lai noted that Hsiang was the highest-ranking military officer to be corrupted by China in recent years.
Hsiang betrayed his country for meager profits and has thus desecrated the importance of the military and broken his sworn oath to protect the country, the ombudsmen said.
It was their opinion that Hsiang’s case constituted a “serious violation” of Article 138 of the Constitution, Article 5 of the National Defense Act, Article 58 of the Act of Military Service for Officers and Non-commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces, Articles 1 , 6, and 17 of the Civil Servant Service Act, Guideline No. 4 of the Ethics Guidelines for Civil Servants, and the code of Ethics of Republic of China Military Personnel, the officials said.
In summary, Hsiang’s case is a “serious violation” of Article 2-1 of the Civil Servants Disciplinary Act, which serves as the legal basis for any disciplinary measures, they said.
Under the Act, Hsiang could see his pension stripped or reduced or be ordered to pay a fine should the Disciplinary Court accept the Control Yuan’s impeachment as proof of guilt.
(By Lai Yu-chen and Sean Lin)