Taiwan double agent gets 18-year sentence for spying for China

Taiwan double agent gets 18-year sentence for spying for China
Straits separating Taiwan and China.

TAIPEI - A Taiwanese court on Wednesday sentenced a former intelligence officer to 18 years in prison for spying for China, the latest in a series of espionage scandals in recent years.

Lo Chi-cheng, formally a colonel in the military intelligence bureau, was convicted of selling classified information to China multiple times between 2007 and 2010 in return for about $250,000, the high court said.

A military tribunal in 2011 had sentenced Lo to life in prison, which he appealed. The high court reduced his sentence on the grounds that he had confessed and shown remorse, a court official said.

He can also appeal Wednesday's ruling.

Defence authorities have said "damage control" measures began after Lo was arrested in late 2010 but have not elaborated.

Media reports say Lo sold lists of spies stationed on the mainland and other secret information to China, which compromised crucial Taiwanese intelligence networks and endangered the lives of agents.

Lo was recruited by a Taiwanese businessman, who was sentenced to three years and six months in jail for his role in the case in a separate ruling.

Taiwan has been rocked by a series of espionage scandals in recent years, despite warming ties with China under current Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.

Taiwanese authorities are currently investigating a former top negotiator on China policy who stepped down last month over suspicions he leaked confidential work-related information.

A retired vice admiral was jailed for 14 months last year for collecting confidential military information for China, while an army general who headed an intelligence unit was sentenced in 2011 to life for spying for China.

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