Runaway intelligence officer gets suspended 10-month sentence
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-11 03:55 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Military Intelligence Bureau Lieutenant Emily Yeh on Tuesday received a 10-month prison sentence suspended for four years for running away to Great Britain.

The Taichung District Court also ordered her to perform 200 hours of social service within a year and to pay NT$200,000 (US$6,600). The court set bail at NT$50,000 (US$1,600), reports said. Under laws governing absence without leave from the military, she could have received a maximum sentence of five years in prison, reports said.

Yeh, 34, left Taiwan in June 2012 for a holiday in Thailand but immediately bought a ticket onward to the United Kingdom without the knowledge of her employer. She asked for political asylum and accused the intelligence service of forcing her to do things she didn’t like. She was repatriated earlier this year.

Yeh also claimed sexual harassment but failed to offer any evidence, reports said. The intelligence service accused her of once having used an official vehicle to go and see a Korean entertainer arriving at the airport.

The Taichung District Court reproached Yeh for her lack of respect for the law but acknowledged that her recent detention and interrogation would have formed a sufficient deterrent, so he only gave her a suspended sentence.

After the fugitive officer arrived in Great Britain, she was able to stay for some time as Taiwanese citizens did not require a visa for the first six months. She stayed in Newport, Wales, where the authorities arrested her last December. She was placed in a detention facility while an attempt at applying for asylum failed because she did not face imminent danger.

Her attorney in Taiwan said her requests to resign from the intelligence service had been turned down repeatedly, indicating problems with employment procedures at the military agency.

Yeh’s mother was in court Tuesday and expressed joy upon hearing that her daughter would be freed on bail, reports said.

It was not immediately clear whether any side was likely to file appeals against the verdict.

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