Former general deserves life sentence for espionage: MND
January 19, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
TAIPEI--A former Army general deserved the life sentence he received for betraying his country and spying for China, Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Luo Shou-he said yesterday.
The spokesman said Lo Hsien-che, a one-star general, fell into a sex trap while he was stationed in Thailand and leaked military secrets to Chinese officials and accepted payment from them for his espionage activities.
"Lo's deeds have undermined national interests, endangered national security, and have a great impact on the military's reputation and morale," he said.
Luo's remarks came after a local newspaper reported that Lo, who is serving his life imprisonment, wrote letters to his family recently claiming he was treated unjustly by the military court and asked for a judicial retrial.
The China Times cited Lo claiming in his letter that he was "set up" by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) because he opposed weapons purchases from the United States, to the ire of some politicians and arms dealers in both Taiwan and the U.S.
Lo said that during his visit of the United States 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 reports said that during the two-month period, the U.S. side had tried to solicit Lo to work as a double agent, meaning that Lo would provide fake information to China and leak intelligence collected on Taiwan to the United States.
After Lo refused the offer, the U.S. decided to hand over the tape to Taiwan and the latter started an investigation into the case, which led eventually to Lo's arrest in January 2011.
Before his arrest, he was director of the communications and electronic information department at Army Command Headquarters, a post he had served since his return to Taiwan from Thailand in 2005.
Lo was sentenced to life imprisonment by a 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.
Since Lo confessed to his deeds, he was given life imprisonment instead of the death sentence, the court said.
Lo 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-U.S. military cooperation project known as Po Sheng, which involved communication links between the armed forces of the two countries.
Lo 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.