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Intelligence officer detained for leaking national secrets

2010/11/02 11:43:17

Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) A senior Taiwanese military officer wastaken into custody Monday on charges of leaking confidentialintelligence to China, according to the Defense Ministry.

The officer with the ministry's Military Intelligence Bureau,identified in local media reports as Lo Chi-cheng, is suspected ofhaving forwarded classified information and data to unauthorizedpersonnel in violation of national laws.

The Military High Court agreed to a request to keep Lo detainedpending further investigation by military judicial authorities on thegrounds that Lo might impair national security or collude with hisaccomplices to give false testimony if freed, a ministry newsstatement said.

According to local newspaper reports, military prosecutorsbelieve the detained intelligence officer collaborated with aChina-based Taiwanese businessman, identified as Lo Pin, to collectmilitary intelligence for China.

The businessman has also been detained by the Taiwan HighProsecutors Office, pending the progress of the investigation, thereports said.

Lo Chi-cheng allegedly first ran Lo Pin as an informant to helpTaiwan collect Chinese military intelligence, but two years ago,Chinese authorities discovered Lo Pin's role.

After Lo Pin admitted to serving as an informant for LoChi-cheng, Chinese officials asked him to persuade Lo Chi-cheng to behis informant instead, according to reports.

Lo Chi-cheng agreed to the offer, and the two Lo's became doubleagents, working in concert to furnish China with Taiwan's militarysecrets, media reports said.

Lo Pin reportedly returned to Taiwan once every two to fourmonths to pay money to Lo Chi-cheng in exchange for a flash diskcontaining classified military information.

The businessman also remitted funds to proxy bank accountsdesignated by the intelligence officer on several occasions, theinvestigation has found.

A United Daily News (UDN) report said the Military IntelligenceBureau had been monitoring Lo Chi-cheng's actions for quite some timeand laid the groundwork to collect evidence and witnesses.

Acting on tipoffs that Lo Chi-cheng would pass militaryintelligence to Lo Pin in late October, military prosecutorscooperated with their counterparts from the Taiwan High ProsecutorsOffice and the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) under the Ministry ofJustice to handle the case, the UDN report said.

On Sunday, both Lo Chi-cheng and Lo Pin were arrested when theymet in Taipei to exchange money and the flash disk, the report said.

Investigators also searched the two men's residences and foundbank passbooks and other data related to the case.

BOI agents also summoned the holders of the proxy accounts, andthey all admitted to being asked by Lo Chi-cheng to open the accountswhich they said were used by the intelligence officer, the reportsaid.

(By Huang Jui-hung and Sofia Wu)