A one-star army general, Lo Hsien-che, was found to be a Chinese spy and detained on suspected espionage charges before the Lunar New Year, interim director Wang Ming-wo of the army's Political Warfare unit of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
Although the army did not discover the general's involvement in supplying military communications secrets to China until last year, it was reported by the media that the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) knew about the affair as early as 2002 and investigated the matter on its own for more than three years between 2002 and 2005, during which time the general was believed to have been recruited by Chinese authorities when stationed in the U.S.
Lo, 51, who has been working at Army Command Headquarters, is believed to be the highest-ranking military officer to have allegedly spied for China. His high level position in the Army had kept him pretty much isolated from frontline personnel and was even suspected by his colleagues as being inexperienced at his job, according to people who had worked with him. In retrospect, his solitary demeanor could be attributed to him being a Chinese spy.
The material that had been leaked to the Chinese, according to documents seized in his dorm room and office on Jan. 27, covered a wide range of military communication installations, including the underground optical cable network layout throughout the island and the integrated Taiwan-U.S. Pacific Command joint military strike information sharing platform, which cost several tens of billions of New Taiwan dollars over several decades to build and was said to be the single most significant piece of data that triggered a wave of investigation by the U.S.
The army's communications network is capable of digital and analog communication of voice transmissions, images and text documents with other intra-network military units or with inter-network public infrastructure.
As a one-star general, Lo could have easily retired and enjoyed hefty retirement benefits. But instead, he opted to risk arrest and spy for the Chinese. Investigators are reportedly focusing their attention on the compensation Lo received from China.