TAIPEI (AFP) – At least 10 Chinese moles are believed to have penetrated Taiwan’s national security units, a retired agent told media Monday, as the island reels from its worst espionage case in half a century.
The warning came after Taiwan arrested army major general Lo Hsien-che on charges of spying for China, which is still technically at war with the island despite reduced tensions in recent years.
"Some of the suspected Chinese agents have not yet been arrested as the authorities are short of solid evidence against them, even though they have been closely monitored for some time," the retired agent, whose name was not given, told the China Times.
Others have been left to believe they are safe "for strategic reasons", he said, implying that they could be used, for example by security forces feeding the agents wrong information in the hope it would be passed on to China.
He warned that since Lo had escaped detection by Taiwanese security forces for nine years before his arrest, his case might just be the tip of an iceberg.
"Many more spies for the Chinese mainland might have gone undetected.... The extent of the infiltration into Taiwan’s government units may be worse than imagined."
Lo was recruited by China while stationed in Thailand between 2002 and 2005 and was detained late last month.
Meanwhile, the Taipei-based Liberty Times newspaper reported that Lo had confessed to spying for China.
The paper also reported that China seems to have engineered Lo’s rise in the Taiwanese bureaucracy.
Lo appeared to have received tip-offs from Beijing regarding Chinese intelligence operations in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, helping him win the trust of his superiors, it said.
At the time of his arrest, the 51-year-old was head of the army’s telecommunications and electronic information department, Taiwan’s defence ministry has said.
It remains unclear how much harm Lo caused Taiwan’s military, but given the sensitive affairs he was in charge of, the impact of the affair is thought likely to be serious.
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