Life term for China spy justified: ministry of defense

DANGER::Lo was the highest-ranking Taiwanese officer to be caught spying for China in 50 years, and his deeds undermined national security, defense said

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - Page 3

A former army general got his just deserts for the life sentence he received in betraying his country and spying for China, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday.

The spokesman said Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲) — a one-star general — fell into a sex trap during his stationing in Thailand and leaked military secrets to Chinese officials, later accepting payment for his espionage activities.

“Lo Hsien-che’s deeds have undermined national interests, endangered national security, and have a devastating impact on the military’s reputation and morale,” Lo said.

The remarks came after a local newspaper reported that Lo Hsien-che, who is serving life imprisonment, wrote letters to his family recently claiming he was treated unjustly by the military court and asked for a judicial retrial.

The Chinese-language China Times cited Lo Hsien-che claiming in his letter that he was “set up” by the US FBI because he opposed weapons purchases from the US, drawing the ire of some politicians and arms dealers in both Taiwan and the US.

Lo Hsien-che was quoted as saying that during his visit to the US in late August 2010 for a conference, FBI agents met him at Hilton Hawaiian Village and forced him to confess that he spied for China in a videotape.

The tape was turned over to Taiwan on Oct. 30 that year.

The media reports said that during the two-month period, the US had tried to solicit Lo Hsien-che to work as a double agent, meaning that he would provide fake information to China and leak intelligence collected on Taiwan to the US.

After Lo Hsien-che refused the offer, the US decided to hand over the tape to Taiwan, which started the investigation that led to his arrest in January 2011.

Before his arrest, he had served as director of the communications and electronic information department at Army Command Headquarters since his return from Thailand in 2005.

Lo Hsien-che was sentenced to life imprisonment by Taiwan’s military high court in July 2011 for engaging in espionage, handing military secrets to the enemy and accepting payment for actions that were in violation of his military duties.

Engaging in espionage activities for China carries the death penalty or life imprisonment in Taiwan under the Armed Forces Criminal Act (陸海空軍刑法).

Since Lo Hsien-che confessed to his deeds, he was given life imprisonment instead of the death sentence, the court said.

Lo Hsien-che appealed the case to the Supreme Military Court, but the court upheld the sentence.

He later appealed his case to the Supreme Court, the highest ruling body in Taiwan.

The 54-year-old officer reportedly had access to information on a Taiwan-US military cooperation project known as Po Sheng, which involved communication links between the armed forces of the two countries.

Lo Hsien-che is the highest-ranking Taiwanese officer to be caught spying for China in nearly five decades.

He is thought to have been recruited by Chinese agents in 2004 in Thailand, where he was posted between 2002 and 2005.