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Intelligence

Military officer gets life for spying for China

ROC Central News Agency

2011/04/28 17:02:16

By Lai Yu-chia, Chen Yi-wei and Sofia Wu

Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Colonel Lo Chi-cheng, who used to work at the Defense Ministry's Military Intelligence Bureau, was sentenced to life plus 27 years for spying for China, bribery and extortion.

Lo Chi-cheng was given a life sentence for colluding with Lo Pin, a China-based Taiwanese businessman, to gather military intelligence for China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement, citing the Military High Court verdict.

Lo was also sentenced to 14-years in prison for taking bribes from Chinese authorities and was given an additional 13-year sentence for using "false intelligence" fed by China to obtain monetary rewards from Taiwanese authorities, the MND said.

A collegial panel of the Military High Court imposed a prison sentence of life plus 27 years on Lo Chi-cheng for all three crimes, the ministry said, adding that he can still appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan High Court sentenced Lo Pin to three and a half years in prison on Thursday for violating the National Intelligence Act.

The court said in its verdict that Lo Pin was recruited by Lo Chi-cheng in 2003 to help obtain classified information from China.

From February 2004 to October 2005, Lo Pin made 10 visits to China to collect intelligence and was paid NT$50,000 (US$1,724.14) a month, according to the court verdict. He was later dropped as a spy in 2005 on suspicion that he had been exposed, and was given severance pay of over NT$870,000, the court said.

Lo Pin was arrested by Chinese security authorities during a trip to the mainland in July 2006. Chinese officials asked him to "redeem himself through good service." In exchange for his own release, Lo Pin then made a deal to convince Lo Chi-cheng to spy for China.

Tempted by China's incentives, Lo Chi-cheng began to work as a double agent. In the ensuing years, Lo Pin traveled to Hong Kong on many occasions to deliver intelligence reports leaked by Lo Chi-cheng and to give false intelligence to the latter.

Lo Chi-cheng then used the information to obtain monetary rewards from Taiwan authorities.

The court verdict said Lo Pin had received a total of US$39,700 plus HK$54,600 from Chinese agents for his service before he was caught exchanging intelligence with Lo Chi-cheng at Taipei Metro's Kunyang station last October.

Lo Pin was taken into custody Nov. 1, 2010, pending investigations into his role in the espionage case.

During the court hearings, Lo Pin confessed to the espionage crime and was released on NT$100,000 bail earlier this month.

Lo Pin can also appeal his case, the high court said.



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