Defence official named Taiwan's new spy chief amid security shake-up

Lee Hsiang-chou becomes island's spymaster amid security reshuffle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 7:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 8:27am

Taiwan has appointed a new spy chief.

Lee Hsiang-chou has become director-general of the National Security Bureau, the Central News Agency reported.

He takes over from Tsai De-sheng who resigned for health reasons. Lee was formerly deputy minister of national defence.

The appointment may have been set in motion as far back as February when King Pu-tsung became chief security adviser to President Ma Ying-jeou, according to one political analyst.

"The reshuffle, apparently orchestrated by King Pu-tsung, is aimed at increasing communication and co-operation within the national security, homeland and intelligence networks," said George Tsai Wei, professor of political science at Chinese Culture University in Taipei.

Tsai believes the arrangement allows the various security agencies to "…deal with the latest situations at home and abroad".

A series of incidents necessitated a security review, said Wei, citing the ramming of the Presidential Office gate by a truck in January and the student-led protests of a trade services pact that witnessed the occupation of the legislature in March and eventually drew half a million sympathisers.

Local media said the appointment of Lee, along with other personnel changes at the National Security Bureau, was part of a reorganisation being steered by King, the bureau's secretary-general, with the support of the president. Lee comes from a military family and began his career as a junior officer.

His appointment is one of several affecting the island's various intelligence and national security departments.

Ma named the former head of the defence ministry Kao Hua-chu as a national policy adviser. Wang Chung-yi, meanwhile, has become director-general of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, replacing Wang Fu-lin, the Central News Agency said.

Mo Tien-fu, the director responsible for domestic security issues at the investigation bureau, will take over as head of the National Immigration Agency.

He is taking over from Hsieh Li-kung, who will join the National Security Council.

Both Wang and Hsieh will become members of the National Security Council, advising the president on security issues.

It also supervises the National Security Bureau, which carries out intelligence work and oversees the security and protection of the president.