General arrested in Taiwan’s biggest spy scandal in 50 years

Lo Hsien-che

Lo Hsien-che

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A “tall, beautiful and chic” Chinese female operative, who held an Australian passport, appears to be behind Taiwan’s most serious espionage scandal in almost half a century, according to news reports. The scandal centers on the arrest earlier this week of Major General Lo Hsien-che, who heads the Taiwanese military’s Office of Communications and Information. Taiwanese prosecutors said that General Lo is the most senior Taiwanese official to be arrested on espionage charges since the early 1960s. He had apparently been investigated for several months by Taiwanese counterintelligence investigators, who claim that Lo was recruited by Chinese intelligence while stationed in Thailand, between 2002 and 2005. Paris-based Agence France Presse cites The China Times in reporting that the General was lured by a female Chinese operative in her early 30s, who cajoled him with “sex and money”. The operative paid Lo a total of around $1 million for supplying her with information relating to Taiwanese purchases of American military hardware. After his return to Taiwan, in 2005, the General traveled to the United States, where he met his Chinese handler and supplied her with further defense secrets. The US Pentagon downplayed the revelations yesterday, saying that Lo was not well informed about the inner workings of US-Taiwanese defense arrangements. But Richard Fisher, of the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington, says that the impact of the espionage case is “deadly serious” and potentially “very damaging” for the joint US-Taiwanese military posture in Southeast Asia. The use of sex, known as ‘honey trap’ in the espionage lingo, is often employed by China in targeting Taiwanese officials and operatives.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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