Taiwan orders officers to face lie detector

TAIPEI - Taiwan is ordering dozens of military officers serving abroad to return home for lie detector tests to stem a wave of espionage cases shaking the island, the defence minister said Monday.

More than 50 military attaches and other senior personnel assigned abroad have been called back one after the other since last year to do the polygraph test, Kao Hua-chu told parliament.

"We haven't come across anything unusual in these tests," he told legislators. He explained that from now on, the officers will have to do the test once year.

Even officer cadets undergoing training abroad will be required to do the tests, Kao said.

The new measure, which was only made public on Monday, comes after a string of embarrassing cases, where Taiwanese officers were found to spy on behalf of arch enemy China.

Taiwan authorities in January 2011 arrested Major General Lo Hsien-che over claims that he spied for China, after he was lured by sex and money offered by a female Chinese agent on a 2002-2005 posting to Thailand.

The 52-year-old was head of the army's telecommunications and electronic information department, according to the defence ministry.

Taiwan and China have spied on each other ever since they split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. Beijing still regards the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

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