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Taiwan court finds ex-lawmaker not guilty of spying for China

Retired Navy officer sentenced to 5 months in prison

File photo of former Legislator Lo Chih-ming. 

File photo of former Legislator Lo Chih-ming.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Kaohsiung District Court found former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) not guilty Friday (July 21) of recruiting retired senior military officers to work on behalf of China.

However, the alleged mastermind of the scheme, retired Navy Major General Hsia Fu-hsiang (夏復翔) was sentenced to five months in prison for breaking the National Security Act, CNA reported. He could avoid jail by paying a fine, while appeals against the verdicts were also still possible.

From 2013 to 2018, 48 retired lieutenant generals and major generals from the Army, Navy, and Air Force went on 13 free trips to China, according to prosecutors. During the trips, Chinese officials would discuss politics with them and try to make them sympathize with China and its designs on Taiwan.

Lo and Hsia reportedly acknowledged they had organized the trips, but denied they had been trying to form a spy ring to collect confidential information for China. Hsia, who was present in court Friday, said he still needed to consult with his attorney before deciding whether he would file an appeal.