22 March 2019
Edward Lin at a 2008 naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. Photo: Reuters
Edward Lin at a 2008 naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. Photo: Reuters

Taiwan-born US Navy officer faces spying charges

A Taiwan-born US Navy officer has been charged with espionage on suspicions that he passed secrets to Taiwan and possibly China.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, who became an American citizen after moving to the United States with his parents as a teenager, has also been charged with making false statements and failing to obey an order, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US officials and documents.

He also has been charged under a provision of US military law prohibiting improper behavior in the armed forces, based on allegations that he hired a prostitute and committed adultery, the newspaper said.

Lin is assigned to the headquarters of the US Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, which controls naval aircraft that gather information and conduct surveillance.

He has been held in a Navy brig for several months, one defense official said.

A redacted charge sheet reviewed by the Journal accuses him of communicating secret information related to national defense to a representative of a foreign government twice and attempting to do so in three separate instances.

Defense officials said initial indications suggested that Lin was suspected of sharing information with the Taiwanese government.

He also had scheduled a trip to China to meet with military officials there, according to a defense official.

It wasn’t clear whether any information had been shared with the Beijing government or if Lin had intended to do so, the report said.

The charge sheet alleges that the accused officer passed along the information “with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation”.

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