Intelligence

Ex-army major general given life sentence over spying for China

ROC Central News Agency

2011/07/25 18:00:20

By Hsieh Chia-chen and Sofia Wu

Taipei, July 25 (CNA) Former Army major general Lo Hsien-che has been sentenced to life imprisonment on conviction of spying for China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement Monday.

Citing the ruling handed down by the Military High Court earlier in the day, the ministry said Lo breached Article 17 of the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces on espionage, which comes with a mandatory death penalty or life sentence.

As the former one-star general confessed to his crime in the course of investigation and court hearings, the court commuted the death sentence and instead, gave Lo life imprisonment plus the stripping of his civil rights for the rest of his life.

According to the investigation, Lo delivered classified data to Chinese agents on five occasions and took bribes from them. Each of those actions warranted a 15-year prison term based on the Anti-Corruption Statute, and was incorporated into the life sentence, the ministry said.

The MND also said it will present the case to the Military Supreme Court for another review because the case requires a mandatory appeal. The defendant and military prosecutors can also file an appeal with the Military Supreme Court within 10 days after receiving Monday's verdict.

Lo has been in custody since Jan. 25 following the searches of his residence and office by military prosecutors. He was one of the highest-ranking military officers convicted of spying for China in more than two decades.

Military sources said Lo was recruited by mainland Chinese agents in 2004 in the middle of a 2002-2005 posting in Thailand.

In an apparent effort to downplay damage from the case, military officials said Lo could not have done much damage after returning to Taiwan in 2005.

He was posted as director of the communications and electronic information department at Army Command Headquarters, and given mostly administrative responsibilities involving largely non-sensitive tasks, the sources said.

Lo, 51, was promoted to the rank of major general on Jan. 1, 2008, but came under investigation last October on suspicion of involvement in espionage.

A local newspaper reported recently that Lo had sold a scrambler used by Taiwan's intelligence services to China, but the MND contended that the report was "not factual."



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