HK journalist convicted of espionage
Updated: 2006-08-31 11:51

The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court Thursday has sentenced Hong Kong resident Ching Cheong, a journalist for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, to five years in prison for spying for Taiwan.

Ching Cheong, who worked for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, is sentenced to five years in prison for spying for Taiwan. [file photo]

According to the verdict, Ching Cheong is also deprived of political rights for one year and personal property worth 300,000 yuan (about US$37,500) has been confiscated.
"The penalty is a mitigated one considering that after Ching Cheong was detained, he voluntarily confessed to more espionage activities than those the state security departments had known about. He also gave up his notebook computer, which contained evidence of espionage, to the authorities," according to a document released by the court.

According the document, when he worked in Taiwan as a journalist for Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, Ching Cheong became acquainted with two people from a Taiwan foundation, one surnamed Xue and another Dai.

The court learned the foundation was actually an espionage organization, and Xue and Dai were deputies, of which Ching had full knowledge. The court heard that at the request of Xue and Dai he supplied information involving state secrets and intelligence he received from contacts in Beijing to Xue and Dai via fax and email from May 2004 to April 2005. Using an alias, he accepted 300,000 HK dollars in payment from the organisation.

A court official said Ching's procedural rights had been fully guaranteed. Ching himself and his two lawyers defended his case. He has the right to appeal.
The court document shows Ching was born on December 3 1949.